Wilson – A. Scott Berg

The 28th president of the United States. Born in Staunton, Virginia, but grow up mostly in Georgia and South Carolina. Father was a Presbyterian preacher. Ancestors were Scottish.

Had a nervous condition and health problems from an early age. Caused him to discontinue his studies at Davidson, even though he was excelling academically (after a rough start). Next went to Princeton,  which at the time was not highly regarded academically.

Went to law school at UVA, but again had to stop due to mental/health issues. Eventually graduated, doing most of the work  from home.

Didn’t like law. Eventually accepted a teaching position at a new women’s college, Bryn Mawr. Next took another teaching position at Princeton.  Wrote series of  books on government, used as text books, highly regarded. Got a PHD from John Hopkins (they basically gave it to him based on the books he had already written.)

Became president of the university, and was highly successful in raising the academic standing of  the university, and raising  funds. Fought the highly ingrained class system at the school which treated poor students unfairly.

His stand against the system cost him, won him many enemies. The New Jersey Democratic machine was at the time looking for somebody they could easily control to run for governer, and decided on Wilson. He won the  election, but the machine was surprised that he refused to kowtow to their demands. A highly moral man, he was determined to follow  what he thought was the right path  no matter the consequences. In this case it worked out.  Later in  life he would not be so lucky.

Wilson’s success in New Jersey gave him a national reputation as a progressive reformer, and his Southern roots helped him win favor in that region. Defeated Republican incumbent William Taft for precidency in 1912. Taft was hurt by the Theodore Roosevelt third party run,  which split the Republican vote.
Wilson was not the typical politician. He came from the academic world.   The speaking and writing skills he learned as an academic helped him enormously.
Many things happened during Wilson two terms.
  • introduced a federal income tax
  • reduced tarriffs
  • established federal reserve
  • created President’s  room at Capitol so he could directly speak with  Congress
  • first wife died while he was in office; he remarried while in office
  • Gave annual address to Congress (which became known as the State of the Union) in person, first since John Adams
  • attempted to keep U.S. out of WWI (which help win him reelection over Hughes). “Vote for Wilson is a vote for peace.”
  • declared war on Germany after numerous ships sank by German submarines. “The world must be made safe for democracy.”‘
  • raised taxes – mostly on the wealthy
  •  passed the Espionage Act (boo)
  • advocated for what eventually became the Sedition Act
  • placed the major role in peace  negotiations, what became the Treaty of Versailles
  • Worked for the establishment of the League of Nations,  his brainchild
  • had a stroke while in office, had little to do with government affairs after

Book was way to detailed for my needs. Didn’t think I’d every get to the end.

Fun  facts

  • played more golf than any other president – almost everyday for  a time
  • first to schedule regular press conferences
  • first wife – Ellen – first to work for social just while husband in office
  • Wilson introduced daylight saving to gain extra hour farm time and save energy
  • ate two unbeaten raw eggs in orange juice every morning.



BEdward mandall house. Wilson assistant. First national security advisor
Wilson was hound dog
Great speaker.
Big joker.
14 points.
16.5 killed in WW1. 1/3 civilian
Ancestors from Scotland
Calvinism. Predestination.
Personal communication with god.
Founded many schools.
Scotland became first literate modern European country.
Davidson. Then Princeton.
Witherspoon pres. Princeton. Term campus.
As president greatly increased focus on academics. Get more of a country club for rich kids. Also reduced influence of social clubs. Thought the created a class structure within the university.
Raised a lot of money.
Wrote a lot.books on government. Very well received.
Became governor of new jersey. Democratic bosses thought they could easily control him, so they offered they support. Also his ideas about theneeWdth create a classless academic environment resonated.
He was unhappy at Princeton due to the fighting about the graduate school. Which he was losing
William simon U’ren
P. 221 good quote
William mcadoo
Dem. Convention had several votes get Wilson won
Roosevelt ran against party
Debs socialist party
Wilson called “Peck’s bad bioy”
McAdoo believed private funding of campaign should be criminal act
Colonel house. Unpaid advisor. Unusual.
P.256 cabinet choice. “Imagine picking because Nell likes him.”
Dr. Grayson close to Wilson p. 276
Washington DC was named Columbia.
1913 DC had 350k people. 1/3 negro. Largest negro population in country.
Taft had oval office built.
Wilson ate two unbeaten raw eggs in orange juice every morning.
Republic of China started? Wanted to do business with outside world
Wilson squashed American big banks loan to China. Felt gave banks and u.s. too much power over China. Anti uimperialiastic move
First to schedule regular press meetings. Did it unperson
The president s room at Capitol. Washington s idea. Place pres to speak with Congress.
Wilson first since john Adams to do in person.
Great my reduced tarriif on much goods
Started Federal reserve system.
McAdoo seems to have suggested giving reserve power to set interest rates.p.299
Ellen first first lady to take up causes of social justice
Played more golf than any pres before or sense
Wwi. Serb assassinated Austrian prince. Russia supported Serbia and Germany Austria.
Wife died while he was in office.
1914 first direct election of senators
Thomas Marshall was vp. “What the country really needs is a good five cent cigar.”
 “Two sons one lost at sea other became vp. Never heard from ever since.”
Raised taxes. Primarily on wealthy.
H. Ford paid women same as men at Wilson suggestion.
Won reelection over hughes. Very close.came down to California.
 “Vote for Wilson is a vote for peace.”
 women voted for first time in some states. Chose Wilson.
Wilson pushed for “cloture” rule to end filibusters.
 “The world must be made safe for democracy.”
Jeannette Rankin
Lever act Herbert Hoover
Nationwide program to save food
Wilson introduced daylight saving to gain extra hour farm time and save energy
Espionage act. Early version had many censorship aspects. Wilson supported. Was his own sedition act (adams)
Censorship parts became the later Additions act of 1918.
Churchill said u.s. Should have remained out minded own business. Most others disagree d.
Black jack pershing. Called black because lead a regiment of buffalo soliders. Blacks
Balfour declaration
Fourteen points
debt ceiling
Bel lueau Woodskudzu
Arrgonne forest. Biggest battle in U.S.history. Still.
Alvin York
Women.protesting for sufferage. Arrested,sent to occaquqan workhouse.
Alice Paul also ended up in occaquan. “Night of terror”B
Carrie Chapman Cart
Sedition act. Debs case. Outrageous supreme court decision. Holmes
10 million soldiers died wwi
21 million wounded
Treaty of Versailles
Clemaneau wanted revenge
Henry Cabot Lodge. Decided to try to dismantle treaty before even saw it
A.Mitchell Palmer
terrorist no bomb in NYC
Cox crushed in election by Harding
Elihu root