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An Overview of Woodrow Wilson's Administration

President Woodrow Wilson

A minority of the voters elected Woodrow Wilson to the presidency in 1912. That year the Republicans split their votes between incumbent William Howard Taft and former President Theodore Roosevelt. In 1916, the people re-elected Wilson partly because "He kept us out of war." Three months after that election, however, German submarines began unrestricted attacks on American ships, and Congress declared war on Germany. Although he led the United States as an active participant in World War I, Wilson gained lasting fame as a champion of world peace by playing a key role in negotiating the Treaty of Versailles and by tirelessly fighting for a League of Nations.

Historians generally consider Wilson one of the three or four most successful Presidents. As a spokesman for humanity in a world crisis, he stood for integrity, purity of purpose, and responsibility. Not even his enemies accused Wilson of weakness or stupidity. They knew him to be honest and that he could not be turned aside from what he believed was right, even for the sake of friendship.

Election of 1912
Candidate Popular Vote Electoral Vote
Woodrow Wilson
Theodore Roosevelt
William Howard Taft
Election of 1916
Woodrow Wilson
Charles Evans Hughes
Vice-President and Cabinet
Vice-President Thomas R. Marshall
Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan
Robert Lansing (1915)
Bainbridge Colby (1920)
Secretary of the Treasury William Gibbs McAdoo
Carter Glass (1918)
David F. Houston (1920)
Secretary of War Lindley M. Garrison
Newton D. Baker (1916)
Attorney General James C. McReynolds
Thomas W. Gregory (1914)
A. Mitchell Palmer (1919)
Postmaster General Albert S. Burleson
Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels
Secretary of the Interior Franklin K. Lane
John B. Payne (1920)
Secretary of Agriculture David F. Houston
Edwin T. Meredith (1920)
Secretary of Commerce William C. Redfield
Joshua W. Alexander (1919)
Secretary of Labor William B. Wilson
United States Events During His Administration
Population in 1921 108,600,000
March 15, 1913 Wilson held the first ever regular presidential press conference.
April 7, 1913 Congress was called into special session to consider a new tariff bill.
1913 The Department of Commerce and Labor was split into two separate Cabinet-level departments.
1913 The 17th Amendment to the Constitution, providing for the direct election of U.S. Senators, became law.
October 1913 Congress passed the Underwood Tariff Act.
December 1913 Congress passed the Federal Reserve Act.
1914 The Federal Trade Commission was established by act of Congress.
1914 Congress passed the Clayton Antitrust Act.
1915 The first telephone line linking New York City and San Francisco began operation.
1916 Congress passed the Adamson Act, establishing the eight-hour working day for railroad employees.
1916 Congress passed the Child Labor Act.
1916 Congress passed the Jones Bill, greatly increasing Philippine self-government.
1917 The United States purchased the Virgin Islands from Denmark.
April 6, 1917 Congress declared war against Germany.
1918 The first airmail route was established between New York City, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C.
1919 The 18th Amendment to the Constitution, banning the manufacture, sale, and transportation of alcoholic beverages, became law.
1919 Congress rejected the Versailles Treaty and American membership in the League of Nations.
1920 The 19th Amendment to the Constitution, giving women the right to vote, became law.
1920 The first commercial radio broadcasts were made from Detroit and Pittsburgh.
World Events During His Administration
April 1914 American forces occupied the Mexican port of Veracruz.
1915 A German submarine sank the liner Lusitania.
1916 American General John J. Pershing pursued Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa deep into Mexican territory.
January 8, 1918 Wilson delivered his "Fourteen Points" speech.
October 6-November 11, 1918 Wilson negotiated the armistice with Germany.
January 18-June 28, 1919 Wilson helped draft the Versailles Treaty at the Paris Peace Conference.
1920 The League of Nations was established.
July 12, 1920 The Panama Canal opened.

See Also

William Howard Taft
Theodore Roosevelt
World War I
Charles Evans Hughes
William Jennings Bryan
Newton D. Baker
Department of Commerce
Virgin Islands
John J. Pershing
Pancho Villa
Panama Canal

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The Robinson Library >> Woodrow Wilson's Administration

This page was last updated on August 30, 2018.