Nickname: Schoolmaster

Years in office: 1913–1921

Political party: Democratic

Birthday: December 28, 1856

Official presidential portrait of Woodrow Wilson

by Frank Graham Cootes, 1936

Sincerely Yours, Woodrow Wilson, by Arthur Mole & John Thomas, 1918 (National Portrait Gallery)

Look closely at this portrait of Woodrow Wilson. It is not a painting, not a drawing. It is a photograph of around 21,000 men, strategically placed to create the image of Woodrow Wilson.

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 its 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. But, Republicans were wary of TR after forming his own party in the election of 1912. 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.


Augusta, GA


Washington, D.C.


Staunton, VA


National Cathedral, Washington, D.C.


Davis, Kenneth C., and Pedro Martin. Don’t Know Much about the Presidents. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2014.

DeGregorio, William A., and Aaron Jaffe. The Complete Book of U.S. Presidents. Fort Lee, NJ: Barricade Books, Inc., 2017.

Kane, Joseph Nathan, and Janet Podell. Facts about the Presidents: A Compilation of Biographical and Historical Information. New York: H.W. Wilson, 2009.


Encyclopedia Britannica, britannica.com

Library of Congress, loc.gov

Miller Center, University of Virginia, millercenter.org/the-presidency

The White House, whitehouse.gov

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