Wilson was the 28th president of the United States. More than any other president before him, he was responsible for increasing American involvement in world affairs and his idealistic vision led to the creation of the League of Nations.
Thomas Woodrow Wilson was born in Staunton, Virginia, on 28 December 1856. His father was a Presbyterian minister. Wilson was raised in Georgia and South Carolina against the backdrop of the American Civil War. He studied at Princeton University, briefly became a lawyer and then went to John Hopkins University where he received a doctorate in history and political science.
After a successful academic career, Wilson became president of Princeton University, serving between 1902 and 1910. His reforming efforts brought him attention and the New Jersey Democrats asked him to run for governor in 1910. His victory launched his political career. In 1912, he ran as the Democratic candidate for president and won.
Wilson's domestic policies included the Federal Reserve Act of 1913, which provides the framework that still regulates US banks and money supply. Wilson sought to maintain American neutrality after the outbreak of World War One and was re-elected president in 1916 on the slogan 'He Kept Us Out of War'. But the German policy of unrestricted submarine warfare, which included the sinking of American shipping, led Wilson to bring the US into the conflict in April 1917.
In January 1918, in a major speech to Congress, Wilson laid out his Fourteen Points, which he believed should form the basis of the peace settlements in Europe. He attended the Versailles peace negotiations to advocate this programme, but the resulting treaties left him bitterly disappointed. Wilson returned to the US and waged a futile struggle to win United States ratification of the Treaty of Versailles and American support for the new League of Nations. He was awarded the 1919 Nobel Prize for Peace for his efforts to create the league.
In September 1919, Wilson suffered a massive stroke. He refused to resign, but was unable to function adequately for the rest of his presidential term. He died in Washington DC on 3 February 1924.
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