Biography of U.S. President Woodrow Wilson Part 3 Physical Description
About the United States President Woodrow Wilson, biography and history of his career as well as physical description.
PROFILES OF THE PRESIDENTS
BEFORE THE PRESIDENCY
On the Way to the White House: As early as 1906 there was public speculation that the president of Princeton might make a fine president of the U.S. Wilson's original backers were conservatives who saw him as a safe-and-sound member of the eastern establishment and the man to "save" the Democratic party from left-wing reformers. Wilson's long, bitter, and unsuccessful struggle against Princeton's traditional "eating clubs" helped him win a democratic image and popular appeal to go along with his conservative support. As a stepping-stone to the White House, Wilson accepted the New Jersey gubernatorial nomination when the Democratic bosses offered it to him in 1910. With the backing of one of the most corrupt political machines in America, Wilson was elected governor by a large margin, then promptly turned against his former allies and pushed through legislation for direct primaries, workmen's compensation, and regulation of public utilities. In 1912, after a scant two years in public office, Wilson took his progressive record to the people as a candidate for president. His stiff professorial manner, however, seemed to alienate many voters, and in a key primary Wilson was crushed by a 3-to-1 margin. By the time of the Democratic convention, Wilson was still a candidate but a definite underdog in his fight for the nomination.
His Person: Wilson was a tall, lean man with sparse iron-gray hair and blue eyes often hidden behind glittering, rimless glasses. His most prominent feature was his square, heavy lantern jaw, which, combined with a wide straight mouth and arched eyebrows, gave him what he himself described as a "Scotch Presbyterian face." Wilson had been a plain and ungainly youth, and throughout his life he thought of himself as particularly unattractive. He was fond of joking about his own forbidding appearance and liked to recite a self-derogatory limerick to his friends.
For beauty I am not a star;
There are others more handsome by far.
But my face, I don't mind it,
For I am behind it,
It's the people in front that I jar.
Proud of his strong tenor voice (he had been a member of the Princeton Glee Club in his student days)., Wilson often joined his daughters Margaret and Eleanor in a singing trio. In private social gatherings, he also did impersonations and was particularly fond of recounting dialect and black folk stories. Appearing cold and rigid in public, Wilson was always plagued by a painful sense of his own isolation. He once wrote: "The president of the U.S. is not made of steel or whipcord or leather. He is more utterly dependent on his friends, on their sympathy and belief in him, than any man he has ever known or read about.... He has many counselors, but few loving friends. The fire of life burns in him only as his heart is kept warm."
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