Woodrow Virginia; however, after two years Wilson would

Woodrow
Wilson was the 28th President of the United States from 1913-1921
and is best known for his legislative accomplishments and idealism. Born in Virginia to Scotch-Irish
immigrants,
Wilson was the only other president at the time to have foreign-born parents; Andrew Jackson being the first. Struggling with dyslexia and a late
start at learning how to read, Wilson persevered and attended Princeton University in
1875. Wilson’s interest in politics grew
during his time at Princeton and after his graduation in 1879 led to his
studying of law at the University of Virginia; however, after two years Wilson would
switch to Johns Hopkins University where he would eventually earn a PhD in
Government.
Before presidency,
Wilson taught history and political science at Bryn Mawr College, Wesleyan University, and Princeton. By 1902, Wilson was president of Princeton
and worked towards adopting several policies and reforms for both undergraduate
and graduate studies at the university; one could say his small role as
president of the ivy league helped shape how he would eventually take on the
country when becoming President in 1913.

            In between his time as university
president and United States President, Wilson successfully ran for the
governor of New Jersey in 1910. His campaign for governorship was progressive for its
time and can be attributed to how he won the spot in office. His ideas about parliamentary
practices and reforms during his time as governor were what got him national recognition
to be a contender for the Democratic presidential nomination. The 1912 convention was an
interesting one because of how the votes were split among parties; from former President Theodore
Roosevelt to the Bull Moose Party split, Wilson struggled in the three-way
race. However, this split factor played in favor
for Wilson and allowed him to win with a 42% of the popular vote and an
electoral college landslide of 435 votes. Wilson had campaigned for his new
idea of “New Freedom” and was the first Southern-born President elected since
the Civil War.

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            Wilson truly favored parliamentary
style ruling,
as seen with his previous research and published works and fully intended to
attempt to conduct his presidency as such. He often had legislative programs written
well in advance,
was one of the first presidents to appear before Congress in person, and for the most majority worked
directly through his party. Wilson’s time in office was spent using unconventional
methods never seen before from a president, however his approach was widely
praised as he had many victories with passages of bills and reforms starting
from the very beginning of his time in office. One of Wilson’s most successful
passages was the 1913 act that created the Federal Reserve System, one of the most powerful agencies
in economic affairs.

            Wilson’s high-minded idealism was
strongly seen from the start of his presidency at Princeton through his time in
office and well after.
Wilson wanted to better the economy and the country in several ways and
strained to stay neutral during WWI, however the escalation of German
warfare left Wilson with no other option but to declare war in April 1917. Wilson’s leadership of himself and
the country led many others looking to him for help and hope during WWI. Wilson’s 14 Points Address in 1918
is believed to have led to the Paris Peace Conference of 1919 and the signing
of the Versailles Treaty with Germany. Wilson’s time in office was unable
to extend for a reelection due to a stroke he suffered during his travels and
stress of the Paris Peace Conference.

            Wilson’s legacy after the tragic end
to his presidency transformed American foreign policy from isolation to
internationalism.
Modern presidency is derived from his ability to shape and mobilize public
opinion and from successfully reforming the Democratic Party. Impact from Wilson’s time as
president could be seen through the decades—even until today—through the program
modeled for the New Deal from Franklin Roosevelt during the Great Depression in
the 1930s to the mobilization policies used during WWII. Wilson’s speeches are what truly
defined the American presidency. Apart from changing foreign policies, Wilson also tried to abandon
imperialist policies;
something that can be seen attempted later on by future presidents.

However, Wilson’s presidency didn’t always
have positive impacts on the country. His commitment to
self-determination had negative aspects, including the invasion and
occupation of Haiti and the Dominican Republic. His lack of toleration during the
war led to violations against Americans’ civil liberties because of his need to
be victorious.
Some of Wilson’s achievements are also overshadowed by his openly positive
support towards segregation, leaving a taint on his record.
Wilsons time as
president can still be felt until this day, both the positive and negative
outcomes. He changed the two major political
parties in the United States and changed just how exactly Americans view the
president,
his role in government,
and the countries role in the world.

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