The Margaret Sanger Papers


Wilson, Woodrow (1856-1924)

President of the United States, 1913-1921. Married Ellen Louise Axson (1885-1914), three children; Edith Bolling Galt (1915-1924). Born in Virginia, Wilson was a scholar and a trained lawyer, who began his career as a professor of history and political science first at Bryn Mawr College (1885-1888) and then Wesleyan University (1888-1890). He taught jurisprudence at Princeton University from 1890 until his selection as president of the university in 1902. After a stormy tenure there, he entered politics and in 1910 was elected Democratic governor of New Jersey. He resigned as governor in mid-term to run for President and was elected in 1912; he was re-elected in 1916. A Progressive, Wilson enacted an ambitious program of domestic reform, though it did not include support of woman's suffrage. In 1915 he received many letters critical of the U.S. Attorney H. Snowden Marshall's prosecution of Margaret Sanger for publishing The Woman Rebel, as well as a petition organized by Marie Stopes and signed by leading British artists and intellectuals, but there is no indication that he took any action either in support or opposition to the prosecution. Though he ran in 1916 on a platform that promised to keep the United States neutral as war raged in Europe, the U.S. entered the war in 1917. With the 1918 armistice, Wilson sought to lead the combatants in a peace process that was fair and moderate, and led the drafting of the Versailles Treaty, which included a provision for the establishment of the League of Nations. The treaty, however, was never ratified by the U.S. Senate and the U.S. signed a separate peace agreement with Germany. Wilson suffered a stroke in 1919 from which he never fully recovered.
References: The Papers of Woodrow Wilson, ed. Arthur Link (1966-1994).