Woodrow Wilson

(1856-1924)

WHO S/HE WAS:

Woodrow Wilson was the twenty-eighth President of the United States, in office 1913-1921. Like Roosevelt before him, Wilson regarded himself as the personal representative of the people. He developed a program of progressive reforms and asserted international leadership in building a new world order. In 1917 he proclaimed American entrance into World War I a crusade to make the world "safe for democracy."

WHAT S/HE SAID:

No one but the President seems to be expected ... to look out for the general interests of the country.

WHY S/HE MATTERED:

Woodrow Wilson and his secretary of state, William Jennings Bryan, came into office with little experience in foreign relations but with a determination to base their policy on moral principles rather than the selfish materialism that they believed had animated their predecessors' programs. Convinced that democracy was gaining strength throughout the world, they were eager to encourage the process.

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