Wilson the Diplomatist
A man of serious mien walked to the stands outside the east front of the Capitol on March 4, 1913, to take the oath as twenty-eighth President of the United States. He was Woodrow Wilson, born in Staunton, Virginia, on December 29, 1856, educated at Davidson College and Princeton University, trained in law at the University of Virginia, and prepared for teaching and scholarship in political science and history at The Johns Hopkins University. From 1885 to 1902 he taught successively at Bryn Mawr College, Wesleyan University, The Johns Hopkins University, and Princeton University. After his election to the presidency of the latter institution in 1902, he transformed a venerable if run-down college into a modern university. Meanwhile, he became embroiled in a personal controversy with the Dean of the Graduate School over control of that school and the location of a residential graduate college and escaped the troubled Princeton scene by accepting nomination for the governorship of New Jersey in 1910. He was elected, and, with irresistible power, captured the Democratic presidential nomination and the presidency of the United States itself in 1912.
Wilson guided the destinies of his country through eight of the most critical years of the modern epoch. The period of his presidency, 1913 to 1921, was a time at home of far-reaching attempts to resolve the problems created by the existence of large uncontrolled private economic interests in a political and social democracy. For the world at large, it was a time of revolutionary upheaval, cataclysmic world war, and shifts in the balance of power that threatened the very foundations of the international order.
As a domestic leader, who articulated American democratic tra-