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Thomas Woodrow Wilson (December 28, 1856 – February 3, 1924) was an American politician and academic who served as the 28th president of the United States from 1913 to 1921. A member of the Democratic Party, Wilson served as the president of Princeton University and as the 34th governor of New Jersey before winning the 1912 presidential election. As president, he oversaw the passage of progressive legislative policies unparalleled until the New Deal in 1933. He also led the United States into World War I in 1917, establishing an activist foreign policy known as Wilsonianism. He was the leading architect of the League of Nations.

Wilson spent his early years in the American South, mainly in Augusta, Georgia, during the Civil War and Reconstruction. After earning a Ph.D. in political science from Johns Hopkins University, Wilson taught at various schools before becoming the president of Princeton University. As governor of New Jersey from 1911 to 1913, Wilson broke with party bosses and won the passage of several progressive reforms. His success in New Jersey gave him a national reputation as a progressive reformer, and he won the presidential nomination at the 1912 Democratic National Convention. Wilson defeated incumbent Republican President William Howard Taft and Progressive Party nominee former president Theodore Roosevelt to win the 1912 United States presidential election, becoming the first Southerner to be elected president since the American Civil War.

During his first term, Wilson presided over the passage of his progressive New Freedom domestic agenda. His first major priority was the passage of the Revenue Act of 1913, which lowered tariffs and implemented a federal income tax. Later tax acts implemented a federal estate tax and raised the top income tax rate to 77 percent. Wilson also presided over the passage of the Federal Reserve Act, which created a central banking system in the form of the Federal Reserve System. Two major laws, the Federal Trade Commission Act and the Clayton Antitrust Act, were passed to regulate and break up large business interests known as trusts. To the disappointment of his African-American supporters, Wilson allowed some of his Cabinet members to segregate their departments. Upon the outbreak of World War I in 1914, Wilson maintained a policy of neutrality between the Allied Powers and the Central Powers. He won re-election by a narrow margin in the 1916 United States presidential election, defeating Republican nominee Charles Evans Hughes.

In early 1917, Wilson asked Congress for a declaration of war against the German Empire after it implemented a policy of unrestricted submarine warfare, and Congress complied. Wilson presided over war-time mobilization but devoted much of his efforts to foreign affairs, developing the Fourteen Points as a basis for post-war peace. After Germany signed an armistice in November 1918, Wilson and other Allied leaders took part in the Paris Peace Conference, where Wilson advocated for the establishment of a multilateral organization, per his "fourteenth point". The resulting League of Nations was incorporated into the Treaty of Versailles and other treaties with the defeated Central Powers, but Wilson was subsequently unable to convince the Senate to ratify that treaty or allow the United States to join the League. Wilson had an illness during the conference, and some experts believe the Spanish flu was the cause. Wilson suffered a severe stroke in October 1919 and was incapacitated for the remainder of his presidency. He retired from public office in 1921 and died in 1924. Scholars have generally ranked Wilson as one of the better U.S. presidents, although he has received strong criticism for being a supporter of racial segregation and white supremacy.

Woodrow Wilson Media

470,099 media by topicpage 1 of 4701
Woodrow Wilson's mother

Woodrow Wilson's mother

Print shows Woodrow Wilson's mother holding a cased photograph. Original photograph probably taken in the late 1840s or early 1850s. Print is one of two on a sheet. Title from item.

[Woodrow Wilson, head-and-shoulders portrait, facing left]

[Woodrow Wilson, head-and-shoulders portrait, facing left]

Inscribed on verso: Your very sincere friend, Thomas W. Wilson, N.C.(?). Printed on verso: G.W. Pach, Photographer, No. 841 Broadway, New York.

Edith Bolling (married Woodrow Wilson)

Edith Bolling (married Woodrow Wilson)

Photograph shows half-length portrait of Edith Bolling Galt Wilson, seated, facing right. Title from negative sleeve. Forms part of: C.M. Bell Studio Collection (Library of Congress).

The house that Woodrow built

The house that Woodrow built

No publication information. Gift; Mrs. Peter Grant; 1940; (DLC/PP-1940:008). Forms part of: Cabinet of American illustration (Library of Congress).

Edith Bolling married Woodrow Wilson

Edith Bolling married Woodrow Wilson

Title is unverified name of sitter or person who ordered the photograph, from handwritten label on negative sleeve or negative. Date from photographer's logbook. Gift; American Genetic Association, 1975. Genera... More

Edith Bolling married Woodrow Wilson

Edith Bolling married Woodrow Wilson

Title is unverified name of sitter or person who ordered the photograph, from handwritten label on negative sleeve or negative. Date from photographer's logbook. Gift; American Genetic Association, 1975. Genera... More

In Washington's Day by Woodrow Wilson, illustrated by Howard Pyle. Begins in Harper's January

In Washington's Day by Woodrow Wilson, illustrated by Howard Pyle. Beg...

Title from item. Forms part of the Artist poster filing series (Library of Congress) Promotional goal: U.S. D42. 1896

Mrs. Woodrow Wilson, seated

Mrs. Woodrow Wilson, seated

Forms part of: George Grantham Bain Collection (Library of Congress). Title from unverified data provided by the Bain News Service on the negatives or caption cards. General information about the George Grantha... More

Wilson

Wilson

Photograph shows President Wilson walking down sidewalk while someone reaches out to shake hands.

Jessie Wilson, Margaret Wilson, Mrs. Woodrow Wilson, Eleanor Randolph Wilson

Jessie Wilson, Margaret Wilson, Mrs. Woodrow Wilson, Eleanor Randolph ...

Forms part of: George Grantham Bain Collection (Library of Congress). Title from unverified data provided by the Bain News Service on the negatives or caption cards. General information about the George Grantha... More

Mrs. Woodrow Wilson

Mrs. Woodrow Wilson

Forms part of: George Grantham Bain Collection (Library of Congress). Title from unverified data provided by the Bain News Service on the negatives or caption cards. General information about the George Grantha... More

SAYRE, FRANCIS, JR., BABY. WITH FATHER AND WOODROW WILSON

SAYRE, FRANCIS, JR., BABY. WITH FATHER AND WOODROW WILSON

Title from unverified caption data received with the Harris & Ewing Collection. Date span based on active dates of Harris & Ewing, Inc. Portrait series. Gift; Harris & Ewing, Inc. 1955. General information abou... More

McADOO, ELLEN WILSON. WITH WOODROW WILSON

McADOO, ELLEN WILSON. WITH WOODROW WILSON

Title from unverified caption data received with the Harris & Ewing Collection. Date span based on active dates of Harris & Ewing, Inc. Portrait series. Gift; Harris & Ewing, Inc. 1955. General information abou... More

SAYRE, FRANCIS, JR., BABY. WITH WOODROW WILSON

SAYRE, FRANCIS, JR., BABY. WITH WOODROW WILSON

Title from unverified caption data received with the Harris & Ewing Collection. Date span based on active dates of Harris & Ewing, Inc. Portrait series. Gift; Harris & Ewing, Inc. 1955. General information abou... More

Woodrow Wilson reading Inaugural address

Woodrow Wilson reading Inaugural address

Title from unverified data provided by the National Photo Company on the negative or negative sleeve. Date from negatives in same range. Gift; Herbert A. French; 1947. General information about the National Pho... More

Woodrow Wilson

Woodrow Wilson

Title from unverified data provided by the National Photo Company on the negative or negative sleeve. Date from negatives in same range. Gift; Herbert A. French; 1947. General information about the National Pho... More

Pres't. Wilson -- Barry Mon't i.e., monument unveiling

Pres't. Wilson -- Barry Mon't i.e., monument unveiling

Photograph shows President Wilson at the unveiling of a monument to U.S. Naval officer John Barry (1745-1803), Franklin Square, Washington, D.C. (Source: Flickr Commons project, 2011) Title from data provided b... More

Group outside White House: includes Woodrow Wilson (right), and Newton Baker (2nd from right)

Group outside White House: includes Woodrow Wilson (right), and Newton...

Title devised by Library staff based on similarity to other images of Wilson and Baker in the collection. Date based on date of negatives in same range. Gift; Harris & Ewing, Inc. 1955. General information abou... More

Woodrow Wilson, 1856-1924

Woodrow Wilson, 1856-1924

Full length, standing, facing slightly right; and wife (Ellen Louise Axson) in garden at Princeton.

[Pres. Woodrow Wilson and wife, Edith Bolling Galt, at ball game]

[Pres. Woodrow Wilson and wife, Edith Bolling Galt, at ball game]

Photoprint by National Photo. Company. This record contains unverified, old data from caption card. Caption card tracings: Photog. I.; Sports Baseball 191-; Pres. I. (2); Baseball; Shelf.

Woodrow Wilson addressing Joint Session

Woodrow Wilson addressing Joint Session

Title from negative sleeve. Date based on date of negatives in same range. Gift; Harris & Ewing, Inc. 1955. General information about the Harris & Ewing Collection is available at http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/pp.... More

Woodrow Wilson

Woodrow Wilson

Forms part of: George Grantham Bain Collection (Library of Congress). Title from unverified data provided by the Bain News Service on the negatives or caption cards. General information about the George Grantha... More

Woodrow Wilson and wife Ellen with unidentified on viewing stand

Woodrow Wilson and wife Ellen with unidentified on viewing stand

Date based on date of negatives in same range. Gift; Harris & Ewing, Inc. 1955. General information about the Harris & Ewing Collection is available at http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/pp.hec Temp. note: Batch one.

Woodrow Wilson; Champ Clark

Woodrow Wilson; Champ Clark

Photo shows President Woodrow Wilson (seated, left) with James Beauchamp Clark (1850-1921), (seated right) speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1911-1919, at Sea Girt, New Jersey. (Source: Flickr ... More

Joseph E. Davies

Joseph E. Davies

Photo shows Joseph E. Davies (1876-1958) who was appointed by President Wilson to be Commissioner of Corporations in 1912. (Source: Flickr Commons project, 2008)

[Woodrow Wilson, full-length portrait, standing next to his wife, Ellen, seated in a chair]

[Woodrow Wilson, full-length portrait, standing next to his wife, Elle...

J146772 U.S. Copyright Office. Copyright by American Press Ass'n., N.Y.

Joseph E. Davies

Joseph E. Davies

Photo shows Joseph E. Davies (1876-1958) who was appointed by President Wilson to be Commissioner of Corporations in 1912. (Source: Flickr Commons project, 2008) Title from data provided by the Bain News Servi... More

Woodrow Wilson, 1856-1924

Woodrow Wilson, 1856-1924

Full length, standing on porch, facing slightly left; and wife (Ellen Louise Axson) at Princeton. Photoprint copyrighted by American Press Ass'n. No copyright renewal. This record contains unverified, old data ... More

Woodrow Wilson & Gov Mann

Woodrow Wilson & Gov Mann

Title from unverified data provided by the Bain News Service on the negatives or caption cards. Forms part of: George Grantham Bain Collection (Library of Congress). General information about the George Grantha... More

W.G. McAdoo & wife

W.G. McAdoo & wife

Photograph shows William Gibbs McAdoo, Jr. (1863-1941), United States Secretary of the Treasury under President Wilson, with his wife, Eleanor Randolph Wilson McAdoo (1889-1967) who was the daughter of Presiden... More

W.G. McAdoo & wife

W.G. McAdoo & wife

Photograph shows William Gibbs McAdoo, Jr. (1863-1941), United States Secretary of the Treasury under President Wilson, with his wife, Eleanor Randolph Wilson McAdoo (1889-1967) who was the daughter of Presiden... More

Mrs. Woodrow Wilson

Mrs. Woodrow Wilson

Photo shows Ellen Axson Wilson (1860-1914), the first wife of President Woodrow Wilson. (Source: Flickr Commons project, 2008) Title from data provided by the Bain News Service on the negative. Forms part of: ... More

Pres't. Wilson -- Barry Mon't [i.e., monument] unveiling

Pres't. Wilson -- Barry Mon't [i.e., monument] unveiling

Photograph shows President Wilson at the unveiling of a monument to U.S. Naval officer John Barry (1745-1803), Franklin Square, Washington, D.C. (Source: Flickr Commons project, 2011)

[Bookplate of Woodrow Wilson] / Carl S. Junge.

[Bookplate of Woodrow Wilson] / Carl S. Junge.

Print shows Wilson seated at a desk and with the Notre-Dame de Reims (Our Lady of Reims) cathedral in the background. (Source: Flickr Commons project, 2014)

[Woodrow Wilson, full, seated in wicker chair on lawn of Prospect, his home at Princeton, N.J., facing left]

[Woodrow Wilson, full, seated in wicker chair on lawn of Prospect, his...

Photo copyrighted by American Press Ass'n. This record contains unverified, old data from caption card. Caption card tracings: Shelf.

Woodrow Wilson; Champ Clark

Woodrow Wilson; Champ Clark

Photo shows President Woodrow Wilson (seated, left) with James Beauchamp Clark (1850-1921), (seated right) speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1911-1919, at Sea Girt, New Jersey. (Source: Flickr ... More

Woodrow Wilson, Norman E. Mack

Woodrow Wilson, Norman E. Mack

Forms part of: George Grantham Bain Collection (Library of Congress). Title from unverified data provided by the Bain News Service on the negatives or caption cards. General information about the George Grantha... More

Woodrow Wilson

Woodrow Wilson

Title from unverified data provided by the Bain News Service on the negatives or caption cards. Forms part of: George Grantham Bain Collection (Library of Congress). General information about the George Grantha... More

Woodrow Wilson descending steps with unidentified persons

Woodrow Wilson descending steps with unidentified persons

Date based on date of negatives in same range. Title devised by Library staff based on similarity of image to others of Wilson in the collection. Gift; Harris & Ewing, Inc. 1955. General information about the H... More

Parade with reviewing stand

Parade with reviewing stand

Date based on date of negatives in same range. Identified as same occasion and street based on LC-H261-2023-B, which shows President Wilson. Gift; Harris & Ewing, Inc. 1955. General information about the Harris... More

"I guess we'll keep this one" / Kep.

"I guess we'll keep this one" / Kep.

Illustration shows Uncle Sam picking a puppy labeled "Wilson" from a litter of puppies labeled "Foss, Baldwin, Harmon, [and] Dix"; the mother of the puppies is labeled "Democratic Party". Title from item. Illus... More

"Mrs. Woodrow Wilson" flower arrangement

"Mrs. Woodrow Wilson" flower arrangement

Title from data provided by the Bain News Service on the negative. Forms part of: George Grantham Bain Collection (Library of Congress). General information about the George Grantham Bain Collection is availabl... More

A. Mitchell Palmer and Gov. Woodrow Wilson

A. Mitchell Palmer and Gov. Woodrow Wilson

Title from unverified data provided by the Bain News Service on the negatives or caption cards. Forms part of: George Grantham Bain Collection (Library of Congress). General information about the George Grantha... More

Woodrow Wilson & Gov Mann

Woodrow Wilson & Gov Mann

Title from unverified data provided by the Bain News Service on the negatives or caption cards. Forms part of: George Grantham Bain Collection (Library of Congress). General information about the George Grantha... More

Woodrow Wilson's Home

Woodrow Wilson's Home

Photo shows Woodrow Wilson's summer home in Sea Girt, New Jersey. (Source: Flickr Commons Project, 2009)

The walls of Jericho / Keppler.

The walls of Jericho / Keppler.

Illustration shows supporters of a "Square Tariff Deal", carried in an ark by "Folk, Clark, Gore, Harmon, [and] Beveridge", march on Jericho, blowing ram-horns labeled "The Voice of the People" causing the wall... More

Our own Manchu dynasty, which is about due for a bump / Frank A. Nankivell.

Our own Manchu dynasty, which is about due for a bump / Frank A. Nanki...

Illustration shows the Republican elephant labeled "G.O.P." as an emperor during the Manchu Dynasty, sitting on a throne looking at a men labeled "Wilson, Champ Clark, Foss, Harmon, [and] Underwood" armed with ... More

Alexander Konta & Pres't Wilson

Alexander Konta & Pres't Wilson

Photograph shows Alexander Konta who was the leader of a delegation of Americans of Hungarian descent who met with President Wilson in 1916 to confirm their loyalty to the United States during World War I. (So... More

[Woodrow Wilson, half length portrait, standing on platform, facing slightly left]

[Woodrow Wilson, half length portrait, standing on platform, facing sl...

J162694 U.S. Copyright Office. This record contains unverified, old data from caption card. Caption card tracings: Presidential I. Speaking; Shelf.

"Members of this club" / Keppler.

"Members of this club" / Keppler.

Illustration shows a boxing ring with Uncle Sam as the referee for a boxing match between Theodore Roosevelt, with his campaign manager Joseph M. Dixon, on the right, and President Taft, with his campaign manag... More

Such a business! / Keppler.

Such a business! / Keppler.

Illustration shows a nurse labeled "Mack" opening a window to the "Democratic Maternity", outside of which are several storks carrying newborns labeled "Gaynor, Bryan, Douglas, Harmon, Clark, Wilson, [and] Unde... More

Woodrow Wilson

Woodrow Wilson

Half-length portrait, standing, facing right; speaking to crowd, Clarksburg, W.Va. Oct. 18, 1912. Photo copyrighted by W.A. Amon, Clarksburg, W. Va. No copyright renewal. This record contains unverified, old da... More

Oregon girls in N. Y

Oregon girls in N. Y

Photo probably shows suffragists from Oregon who were visiting New York City before meeting in Washington, D.C. with President Wilson. (Source: Flickr Commons project, 2010 and New York Times, June 18, 1912) Ti... More

The third party

The third party

Political address

Sleeping beauty

Sleeping beauty

Illustration shows former Governor of Massachusetts, William L. Douglas as a courtier gesturing toward a woman labeled "Democratic Victory" on a bed "Asleep Since 1892", and asking Oscar W. Underwood, Woodrow W... More

The hawk

The hawk

Illustration shows a hawk labeled "Teddy" flying over a frightened mother hen labeled "Democratic Party" and a group of chicks running for cover labeled "Gaynor, Dix, Kern, Foss, Bryan, Clark, Underwood, Wilson... More

Woodrow Wilson, Pres. U.S., 1856-1924

Woodrow Wilson, Pres. U.S., 1856-1924

Head and shoulders portrait, facing right, wearing top hat. Title and other information transcribed from caption card and item. In album: Woodrow Wilson, Herbert E. French, National Photo Company. National Phot... More

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