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Woodrow WILSON

American Woodrow WILSON

born Thomas Woodrow WILSON

28th President of the United States

Source :  Tim DOWLING

Born: on December 28, 1856 in Staunton, Virginia, USA
Died: on February 03, 1924 in Washington, D.C., USA


Biography

Wilson was born in Staunton, Virginia, as the third of four children of Reverend Dr. Joseph Ruggles Wilson (1822–1903) and Jessie Janet Woodrow (1826–1888). His ancestry was Scottish and Scots-Irish. His paternal grandparents immigrated to the United States from Strabane, County Tyrone, Ireland (now Northern Ireland), in 1807. His mother was born in Carlisle, Cumberland, England, the daughter of Rev. Dr. Thomas Woodrow, born in Paisley, Scotland and Marion Williamson from Glasgow. His grandparents' whitewashed house has become a tourist attraction in Northern Ireland.

Wilson's father was originally from Steubenville, Ohio, where his grandfather published a newspaper, The Western Herald and Gazette, which was pro-tariff and anti-slavery. Wilson's parents moved south in 1851 and identified with the Confederacy. His father defended slavery, owned slaves and set up a Sunday school for them. They cared for wounded soldiers at their church. The father also briefly served as a chaplain to the Confederate Army. Woodrow Wilson's earliest memory, from the age of three, was of hearing that Abraham Lincoln had been elected and that a war was coming. Wilson would forever recall standing for a moment at Robert E. Lee's side and looking up into his face.

Wilson's father was one of the founders of the Southern Presbyterian Church in the United States (PCUS) after it split from the northern Presbyterians in 1861. Joseph R. Wilson served as the first permanent clerk of the southern church's General Assembly, was Stated Clerk from 1865–1898 and was Moderator of the PCUS General Assembly in 1879. Wilson spent the majority of his childhood, up to age 14, in Augusta, Georgia, where his father was minister of the First Presbyterian Church.

Wilson was over ten years of age before he learned to read. His difficulty reading may have indicated dyslexia, but as a teenager he taught himself shorthand to compensate. He was able to achieve academically through determination and self-discipline. He studied at home under his father's guidance and took classes in a small school in Augusta. During Reconstruction, Wilson lived in Columbia, South Carolina, the state capital, from 1870–1874, where his father was professor at the Columbia Theological Seminary.

Wilson attended Davidson College in North Carolina for the 1873–1874 school year. After medical ailments kept him from returning for a second year, he transferred to Princeton as a freshman when his father took a teaching position at the university. Graduating in 1879, Wilson became a member of Phi Kappa Psi fraternity. Beginning in his second year, he read widely in political philosophy and history. Wilson credited the British parliamentary sketch-writer Henry Lucy as his inspiration to enter public life. He was active in the undergraduate American Whig-Cliosophic Society discussion club, and organized a separate Liberal Debating Society.

In 1879, Wilson attended law school at the University of Virginia for one year. Although he never graduated, during his time at the university he was heavily involved in the Virginia Glee Club and the Jefferson Literary and Debating Society, serving as the society's president. His frail health dictated withdrawal, and he went home to Wilmington, North Carolina where he continued his studies.

In January 1882, Wilson started a law practice in Atlanta. One of his University of Virginia classmates, Edward Ireland Renick, invited him to join his new law practice as partner and Wilson joined him in May 1882. He passed the Georgia Bar. On October 19, 1882, he appeared in court before Judge George Hillyer to take his examination for the bar, which he passed easily. Competition was fierce in the city with 143 other lawyers, and he found few cases to keep him occupied. Nevertheless, he found staying current with the law obstructed his plans to study government to achieve his long-term plans for a political career. In April 1883, Wilson applied to the Johns Hopkins University to study for a doctorate in history and political science and began his studies there in the fall.

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See Also :

- Category American politician