Thomas Woodrow Wilson was born in Staunton, Virginia to parents “of a predominantly Scottish heritage. His father was a Presbyterian minister and his mother the daughter of Presbyterian ministers. “He was raised in a pious and academic household.” He has a baccalaureate degree from Princeton University in 1879.
He taught at Princeton and later became President of Princeton. From there, he ran for Governor of New Jersey in 1911 where he gained national attention as a reformer. As President, he continued as a reformer. In 1913, he signed into law the Federal Income Tax Act and the Federal Reserve Act. In addition, he set up the Federal Trade Commission.
When World War I came, Wilson tried to keep America out of the war. On January 31, 1917, Germany announced that unrestricted submarine warfare would begin immediately. After four American ships were lost, Wilson asked for a declaration of war.
He insisted that the League of Nations was an essential part of the peace settlement. “But the demands of the victors at the expense of the defeated and political opposition at home were more than he could cope with.” After giving a speech in Pueblo, Colorado on September 25, 1919, he collapsed and later suffered a cerebral hemorrhage.
He was left an invalid but completed the remaining seventeen months of his term and then lived in retirement for three more years. Wilson was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1920. He died in his sleep on Washington on February 3, 1924.
In 1885, he married Ellen Louise Axson. They had three daughters. He was one of only three presidents to be widowed while in office. He took daily automobile rides with the top down. His favorite care was a 1919 Pierce-Arrow, car is on display in his hometown of Staunton, Virginia. He was also a fan of baseball and became the first President to throw out the first ball at a World Series game. He was also a golfer, but perhaps not very good. While in office, he played 1,000 rounds of golf or “almost one every other day.” In the winter months, the Secret Service painted the balls black.
Here is his quotation that has been widely circulated in the Scottish community:
“Every line of strength in American history is a line colored with Scottish blood”