28. Woodrow Wilson

“The Schoolmaster”

Presidential Basics

  • Full name: Thomas Woodrow Wilson
  • Years in office: 1913–1921
  • Political party: Democratic
  • Vice president: Thomas R. Marshall
  • Age at inauguration: 56
  • Nicknames: “The Schoolmaster,” “Big One of the Peace Conference”

Random Trivia

  • Buried in the capital: Wilson is the only president buried in Washington, D.C.  He is buried in the National Cathedral.

Birth & Death

  • Birthday: December 28, 1856
  • Birthplace: Staunton, Virginia
  • Death: February 3, 1924
  • Place of death: Washington, D.C.
  • Place of burial: National Cathedral, Washington, D.C.
  • Last words: None recorded


  • Father: Joseph Ruggles Wilson (1822–1903); Presbyterian minister
  • Mother: Janet (Jessie) Woodrow Wilson (1836–1888)
  • First Wife: Ellen Louise Axson (1860 – 1914)
  • First Marriage: June 24, 1885 in Georgia
  • Second Wife: Edith Bolling Galt (1872 – 1961)
  • Second Marriage: December 18, 1915 in Washington, D.C.
  • Kids: Three
    • From First Wife:
    • Margaret Woodrow (1886–1944)
    • Jessie Woodrow (1887–1932)
    • Eleanor Randolph (1889–1967)
  • Home: Woodrow Wilson House in Washington, D.C.

Other Facts

  • Height: 5’11″
  • Eye color: Blue-gray
  • Ancestry: Scotch-Irish
  • Religion: Presbyterian
  • Born in a log cabin: No
  • Owned enslaved people: No
  • Freemason: No


  • Early education: Private tutoring
  • College degree: Yes
  • College: Davidson College; Princeton (graduated with B.A. 1879); University of Virginia Law School (1882); Johns Hopkins University (graduated with PhD 1886)


  • Military Service: No
  • Lawyer: Yes
  • Writer
  • Lawyer (1882–)
  • Professor of History at Bryn Mawr (1885–1888)
  • Professor of History at Wesleyan (1888–1890)
  • Professor of History at Princeton (1890–1902)
  • President of Princeton (1902–1910)
  • Governor of New Jersey (1911–1913)
  • President (1901–1921)


  • George Washington
  • A History of the American People
  • The State
  • Constitutional Government in the United States
  • Papers of Woodrow Wilson
  • Congressional Government
  • An Old Master and Other Political Essays
  • Mere Literature and Other Essays
  • Division and Reunion: 1829-1889


The election of 1912 pitted Woodrow Wilson against two worthy opponents.  The first was incumbent William Howard Taft, the hand-picked successor of Teddy Roosevelt.  The second was Teddy Roosevelt.  Roosevelt re-entered politics fearing that Taft was too conservative.  Since the Republican party already had their candidate in Taft, Roosevelt ran as a Progressive (also know as the Bull Moose Party). Wilson ran on policies of lowering tariffs, breaking up monopolies, and supporting small businesses.  He won the electoral votes of 40 states, becoming our 28th president.

The election of 1916 proved to be a much tighter race for Wilson than his previous one.  Wilson’s campaign focused on staying out the European war, but cautiously preparing for the war just in case.

Teddy Roosevelt again tried to gain the Republican nomination, pushing for entry into the Great War.  However, forming his own party in the election of 1912 left Republicans wary of Roosevelt.  They instead nominated Charles Hughes, a Supreme Court justice.  Hughes campaigned largely on the necessity to prepare for war. The incumbent president won by a narrow margin.  Five months later the United States would enter into World War I.

Campaign Poster

“I Am Willing…,” poster, c. 1916 (Library of Congress)


© 2021 Periodic Presidents, PJ and Jamie Creek