Biography of U.S. President Woodrow Wilson Part 5 Reelection

About the United States President Woodrow Wilson, biography and history of his nomination and reelection.


28th President



Reelection: Nov. 7, 1916...

Despite an impressive record of domestic legislation in his first term, Wilson faced a tough fight for reelection because the Republicans in 1916 were once more united. Their competent, colorless candidate was Supreme Court Justice Charles Evans Hughes, and while Teddy Roosevelt grumbled about Hughes's lack of character and called him "the bearded lady" behind his back, Teddy agreed to lead his Progressives back into the GOP.

Though there had been speculation that Wilson's remarriage would hurt his chances of reelection, it turned out that the President's handsome new wife was a valuable political asset. Gossip about the White House romance served to humanize Wilson and to lend some warmth to his austere presidential image.

The key issue for the Democrats was the fact that the U.S. remained at peace while the bloodiest war in human history raged on in Europe. The slogan "He Kept Us Out of War" was used throughout the country on Wilson's behalf.

Nevertheless, on election night it appeared that Hughes had won by a narrow margin. It was only after late returns arrived from rural California counties that it became clear that Wilson had carried that state by the razor-thin margin of 4,000 votes and thereby won the election. According to one story, when a reporter called the morning after the election to wake Hughes with news from California, an aide loftily said, "The President can't be disturbed." "Well," replied the reporter, "when he wakes up tell him he's no longer president." The closeness of the vote led Republicans to hope that a recount would reverse the outcome, and Hughes waited two weeks before sending a telegram to Wilson conceding the election. Dryly commenting on the delay, Wilson said of the telegram: "It was a little moth-eaten when it got here, but quite legible."

Second Term: Mar. 5, 1917...

The inauguration was delayed one day because, the scheduled Inauguration Day Mar. 4, fell on a Sunday. Wilson was once again sworn in by Chief Justice Edward D. White.

Just one month after the inauguration, the President who "kept us out of war" sent his war message to Congress and led the U.S. into W.W.I.

During his two terms Wilson vetoed 44 bills. Only 6 of these vetoes were overridden by Congress.

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