Thomas Woodrow Wilson Essay

2966 words - 12 pages

Thomas Woodrow Wilson

Thomas Woodrow Wilson, twenty-eighth president of the United States, might have suffered from dyslexia. He never could read easily, but developed a strong power of concentration and a near-photographic memory. The outbreak of World War I coincided with the death of Wilson's first wife Ellen Axson, who he was passionately devoted to. Seven months after her death his friends introduced him to Edith Bolling Galt, a descendant of the Indian princess Pocahontas, they were married nine months later. By 1912 times were good for most Americans. Farmers were enjoying their most prosperous period in living memory, the cost of living rose slightly, unemployment was lower than it had been for several years, and working conditions were improving. By 1913 when Wilson was inaugurated, American industries were in a flood of consumer goods, including automobiles, telephones, and movies. However, Wilson almost did not appear on the presidential ballot, the leading contender for the Democratic nomination was House Speaker Champ Clark. It took 46 ballots before the delegates swung to Wilson. In the election, the Republicans were split between Taft and Roosevelt, almost guaranteeing a Democratic, and Wilson victory. He sought ways to build patriotism and to reshape the federal government to govern the nation more effectively. Wilson was a conservative, in his books and articles, he often displayed hostility to reformers and rebels. Although Woodrow Wilson is mostly remembered for his success in foreign affairs, his domestic reform and leadership abilities are notable as well. Commemorated by the public mainly for his success in guiding the nation during it's first great modern war, World War I, for getting out of the Mexico/Philippine muddle inherited from ex-president Taft, and for his dream of ending the threat of future wars through the League of Nations, Wilson is also admired for his domestic successes, which represented the Progressive Era of reform. Diplomatically, as well as domestically these events illustrate Wilsons competent leadership skill.
Woodrow Wilsons nomination was strongly opposed by the progressives but he eventually passed much of their domestic reforming legislation. The progressive movement backed by Wilson called for some government control of industry and for regulation of railroad and public utilities. Among its other goals were the adoption of primary elections and the direct election of United States senators. Wilson called Congress into special session to consider a new tariff bill, he personally delivered his legislative request to Congress. Moved by Wilson's aggressive leadership, the House swiftly passed the first important reform measure, the Underwood Tariff Bill of 1913, which significantly reduced the tariff for the first time in many years and reflected a new awareness that American businesses were now powerful enough to compete in the markets of the world. In the end the Underwood Tariff had nothing...

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