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Wilson, Woodrow (1856–1924)

A PROGRESSIVE DEMOCRAT who hated war, Woodrow Wilson had the unenviable task of leading the United States through World War I. Wilson was born on December 28, 1856, in Staunton, Virginia, and was raised in Georgia and South Carolina. He was the first southerner to serve as president since the disastrous presidency of Andrew Johnson. National Democratic leaders groomed Wilson for national politics by supporting his candidacy for governor of New Jersey. In the presidential election of 1912, Wilson made individual liberties a national issue for the first time since the American Revolution. Under Wilson, the Democratic party, which had been struggling to redefine itself since the Civil War, became the symbol of American liberalism.

Wilson led liberals into establishing the twin goals of domestic ...

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