Biography of U.S. President Woodrow Wilson Part 1 Career

About the United States President Woodrow Wilson, biography and history of his family and early career.


28th President



Career: The son of a strong-willed Presbyterian minister, Wilson grew up in Georgia and the Carolinas and always thought of himself as a loyal son of the South. At 16 he entered North Carolina's Davidson College, but left after a few months because of poor health. A year later Wilson enrolled at the College of New Jersey (now Princeton), where he soon won distinction as an orator and debater. By the time he graduated in 1879 he had decided on a political career. As an initial step toward public office, he attended the University of Virginia School of Law, was admitted to the bar, and practiced law for a year in Atlanta, Ga., but he soon found himself bored with the day-to-day . details of legal work. At the age of 26 he returned once more to an academic environment--this time as a graduate student in political science at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. In 1885 his Ph.D. thesis, Congressional Government, was published to widespread critical acclaim, giving young Wilson a preliminary taste of national attention. It also helped him in his teaching career. After brief service at Bryn Mawr College and Wesleyan University, he was appointed a full professor of jurisprudence and political economy at his beloved Princeton. During the next 10 years Wilson emerged as one of the "stars" of the Princeton faculty. During his academic career he produced a total of nine books, including a biography of George Washington and five-volume History of the American People, along with 35 articles. In 1902 the trustees of Princeton unanimously elected Wilson president of the university. He soon launched a program of educational innovation and reform that received much favorable publicity.

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