Woodrow Wilson and His Ability To be an Effective President


During Woodrow Wilson's two terms in office he showed to be a great
democratic leader in many areas. He managed to accomplish a lot, despite his
poor health that he had to deal with since his childhood. Wilson always had a
strong interest in government and was always looking for changes and
improvements. As president he was never afraid to show a bit of a radical side
when it came to making changes. He was constantly pushing for world peace and
the avoidance of World War I. Even though he was unsuccessful in avoiding the
war he showed to be a great leader during it. He never gave up on anything he
was trying to do. His last years of his life were dedicated to convincing the
U.S. to join his League of Nations.

Woodrow Wilson was born December 28, 1856. Through his childhood he was
often sick. This did not keep him from building an interest in education. His
father and him would read out loud to each other and discuss the books. If they
were not reading often the two would sit and talk about recent events. He later
moved onto college and studied American and British political history, public
speaking, and law. After college he set up a law practice with Edward Renick.
Because he had not learned the field of law thorough while in school, he showed
a poor ability to be a lawyer. During this time he was in and out of sickness.

Wilson did not really want to be a lawyer. His main area of interest was
in politics. His first taste of politics was during his term as Governor of New
Jersey. He took this seat in office with sites of presidency two years later.
He let this be known in a letter he wrote to a friend in June of 1910. In the
letter he said this "It is immediately, as you know, the question of my
nomination for the governorship of New Jersey; but that it is the mere
preliminary of a plan to nominate me in 1912 for presidency."(Encarta 5).

During his years as governor he showed that he could change his political
attitudes. He learned to be a little more patient with other people. Before he
found it "very difficult to work with people who opposed him, and was not
receptive to the suggestions of friends who approved his ideals but trusted in
slower or modified processes"(Encarta 4). This was shown more during his time
of presidency at Princeton University. Wilson's more conservative student body
and faculty showed a dislike towards his radical ideas. They did not like the
ideas of changing the teaching style and living style. Because of this many of
his ideas were turned down.

When he first became president he pushed for equality of opportunity for
all men, no matter if they were rich or poor (Collier's 509). He presented many
new proposals to congress and often he presented these new proposals in person.
Wilson also created new agencies such as the Federal Reserve Board and the
Federal Trade Commission. He was also responsible for the ratification of the
18th Amendment. In 1920 during his second term, he passed the 19th Amendment
which allowed women to vote. During this time he was also pressured by the
southerners to allow segregation in Washington D.C. He said that this would be
in the best interests of the blacks.

Woodrow Wilson did how ever show weaknesses during his presidency.
During World War I he often took his time in making decisions. He wanted to
make sure that there wasn't any other way to avoid the war. This was good that
he was looking out after the interest of the country, but it could also have
made the war worse. Wilson also was thought to be a weak president by ex-
president Roosevelt (Encarta 6). During Roosevelt's time in office he helped
Panama succeed from Colombia in return for rights to build the Panama Canal
through their country. He thought it was very unnecessary to apologies to
Colombia for helping the succession of Panama. Roosevelt believed that it
showed Wilson's weaker side.

Wilson did show a strong side in one area, world peace. All through his
first term he aimed to prevent World War I. This was the war that was known as
"the ware that would end all wars". He kept the U.S. neutral and often visited
other countries trying to get them to agree on peace. Keeping the U.S. out of
war was a great accomplishment and helped him win the 1916 election. But during
his second term he