American Presidents






Woodrow Wilson: Life Portrait

Streamed Video

Access Program
from 9/13/99
Access only Part 1
1 hr. 27 mins.
Access only Part 2
1 hr. 31 mins.

The Papers Of Woodrow Wilson
17 mins.

Presidential Letters
23 mins.

Tour Of The Woodrow Wilson House In Washington, DC
28 mins.


Purchase Videotape

This program is also available on videotape.

  • Purchase from the C-SPAN Archives or
  • Apply for a C-SPAN Archives Grant
  • LIFE FACTS

    Personal

    First Lady: Ellen Louise Axson Wilson, Wife

    Wife's Maiden Name:
    Ellen Axson

    Other Wife:
    Edith Bolling Galt

    Number of Children: 3

    Education Level: Graduate

    School Attended: Princeton University, Johns Hopkins University

    Religion: Presbyterian

    Profession:
    Professor, Football Coach, President of Princeton University


    Public Service

    Dates of Presidency: 3/4/1913 - 3/3/1921

    Presidency Number: 28

    Number of Terms: 2

    Why Presidency Ended: End of 2nd term

    Party: Democratic

    His Vice President(s): Thomas Marshall

    Governor of a State: New Jersey (1911-1913)

    Footnotes  
    Methodology  &  Resources



    Did You Know?

    He was the only president to earn a doctorate.
    During his term, the Federal Reserve and Federal Trade Commission were established.
    While he was in office, the United States fought in World War I, despite Wilson's campaigning against it.
    He was the second president to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. He was given the prize for his commitment to world peace and his attempt to create the League of Nations.

    C-SPAN in the Classroom is a free membership service for teachers. Join C-SPAN in the Classroom now!

    Membership includes:

  • Unrestricted taping and viewing rights on programming produced by C-SPAN for use in the classroom.
  • Access to classroom resources and teaching ideas from fellow educators.
  • E-mail updates about programs and resources related to the topics you teach.
  • Other Woodrow Wilson Resources and Activities

    C-SPAN in the Classroom
    Woodrow Wilson: Life Portrait Video Clip List


    Now it is easier to find a short video clip for your classroom! Use the clip list below to search for short, relevant segments from the featured American Presidents: Life Portraits program.

    Directions:   Click on the streamed video links to the left and view the program online; use the start and end times in the list below to cue up and watch the segments of your choice. The clips shaded in gray are those recommended by C-SPAN's Teacher Fellows.
    Woodrow Wilson Program
    Video Clip List - Part 1 of 2
    Clip # Start Time End Time Description
    1 0:00 4:18 Biographical vignette
    2 4:18 5:33 Performance of Wilson campaign song-"We're all with you Mr. Wilson"
    3 5:33 9:37 Limousine that Wilson rode in
    4 7:41 8:15 Discussion on Wilson's health: "Presidential disability"
    Watch Clip 4
    5 8:40 9:36 Wilson as a "two face figure": Contrasting portraits of Wilson, emphasizing his "retrograde" position on race
    6 9:50 11:25 Discussion of Wilson's heritage: "most ethnic President we've had" and reference to Wilson's "southern conservatism"
    7 15:42 16:11 Some analysis of Wilson's prosecution of hostilities with Mexico; reference to Pancho Villa raids
    8 16:11 17:45 Overview of Wilson's transition from academics to politics: Princeton presidency to governor of New Jersey
    9 18:59 19:41 Wilson's position reflecting the changing public opinion on World War I
    Watch Clip 9
    10 19:41 20:05 Income tax discussion: Wilson's support and public attitudes
    11 21:26 22:57 Analysis of Wilson's success as a politician with specific treatment of Fourteen Points and controversial Democratic 1916 campaign slogan
    12 24:17 25:11 Commentary on use of military force in the Western Hemisphere as exception to "Wilsonianism"
    13 25:21 26:23 Video images of Wilson as president with commentary on Wilson's personal attributes, popularity and enjoyment of women's company
    Watch Clip 13
    14 31:20 32:01 Brief view on Edith Wilson's influence on the presidency as related to notions of femininity at the time
    15 32:53 33:58 Overview of Wilson's courtships and marriages
    16 36:06 36:31 Criticism of Wilson's "narrowness" and "rigidity"
    17 38:53 39:44 Analysis of the 1912 election
    18 43:06 43:27 Wilson's position on Labor
    19 43:43 45:09 Thirty second audio of Wilson's speech: "We stand in the presence of an awakened nation"; Commentary on Wilson's Democratic coalition building
    20 45:18 46:04 Wilson's teaching and writing
    21 46:18 46:45 Identification of Wilson's Vice President, Thomas Riley Marshall; Note on strategy for choosing a vice president
    22 50:48 52:46 Wilson's election in the context of the world situation: "An irony of fate" that Wilson sought a progressive domestic agenda but had to contend with the crisis of war
    23 54:42 55:42 Wilson's relationship with Louis Brandeis
    24 57:01 59:24 Analysis of Wilson's racism; Reference to W.E.B. Du Bois ; Wilson's endorsement of the film, The Birth of A Nation and racist notions of Reconstruction
    Watch Clip 24
    25 1:04:03 1:05:17 Video of Wilson's l9l9 train tour to "whip up popular support for the League of Nations"; Analysis of League and controversy surrounding U.S. foreign commitments
    26 1:07:09 1:09:20 Museum Interpreter, George Norris gives tour of Wilson family parlor and artifacts at Wilson's birthplace
    27 1:12:53 1:13:29 Explanation on the "fairness" of the income tax legislation
    28 1:13:41 1:16:38 Interpreter George Norris continues tour of Wilson's birthplace with view of dining room and furniture
    29 1:18:04 1:18:49 Audio of Wilson's speech denouncing "special privilege"; accompanying visuals
    30 1:19:01 1:19:43 Tour of Reverend Wilson's study
    31 1:19:44 1:20:43 Influences of Wilson at Princeton University
    32 1:20:43 1:22:17 Tour of bedroom where Wilson was born
    33 1:25:28 1:27:17 Ovation Singers perform "I think We've got Another Washington and Wilson Is His Name"
    Woodrow Wilson Program
    Video Clip List - Part 2 of 2
    Clip # Start Time End Time Description
    34 0:00 0:39 Host, Brian Lamb, discusses Staunton, VA, the birth town of Thomas Woodrow Wilson.
    35 0:58 1:44 Historian John Milton Cooper tells of the lives of Wilson's daughters.
    36 1:49 3:02 Discussion of events that lead to Wilson's proposal for U.S. entry into World War I
    Watch Clip 36
    37 3:10 3:43 Cooper dispels rumor that Wilson taught at the University of Texas
    38 3:47 4:43 Discusses the background and influence of Colonel House
    39 4:44 6:39 Mentions events that influenced U.S. entry into World War I, as well as the personality, influence and resignation of Secretary of State, William Jennings Bryan
    40 8:13 8:17 Gives information on the burial site of Wilson
    41 8:17 8:59 Consists of information about Wilson's house on "S" Street
    42 9:00 9:12 Brief talk about the results of Wilson's stroke
    43 9:16 9:57 Clears up facts about Secretary of Commerce, William Redfield
    44 10:13 12:28 Nell Irvin Painter discusses the 1917 Bisbee (AZ) deportation of Mexican miners and the involvement of IWW
    45 12:40 13:59 Discusses controversy surrounding Wilson's term as President of Princeton University
    46 14:10 15:12 Addresses a rumor of Wilson being a member of the Ku Klux Klan and discusses public knowledge of his racial views
    47 15:20 17:21 A quick review of the life of Woodrow Wilson
    48 18:26 18:52 Caller explains why the school where he teaches is named after Woodrow Wilson.
    49 23:08 24:25 Painter discusses the impact of the film, The Birth of a Nation and makes reference to Booker T. Washington's film, Birth of a Race
    50 24:27 25:28 Reasons for the failure of the League of Nations; Clarification of the term, "Wilsonianism"
    51 25:43 28:14 Discusses Wilson's Supremacist views and the case of Leo Frank, a Jewish man lynched by the KKK during Wilson's Presidency
    Watch Clip 51
    52 28:20 30:01 Distinguishes between white supremacist views and being a member of the Klan
    53 30:02 31:04 Speaks of Wilson's belated support of Women's Suffrage
    54 31:05 31:17 Discusses Wilson's opponent in the 1916 election
    55 32:44 33:06 Quick trivia fact about Wilson's History of the United States five-volume series
    56 33:15 34:23 Provides information about Wilson's stroke and the American mortality rates of WWI; also gives information on Wilson's active involvement with the US troops during WWI
    57 34:28 35:17 Discusses the influence that other Presidents who were alive during the Wilson presidency had on Wilson
    58 35:22 36:34 Discusses Wilson's and his first wife's interest in art and architecture
    59 36:37 37:45 Further discusses when the public was notified of President Wilson's stroke
    60 39:37 41:16 Addresses a question concerning the ingeniousness of a man matching his effectiveness as a president
    61 41:20 43:04 Discusses the quarrel between Henry Lodge and President Wilson over the League of Nations
    62 43:05 43:35 Recaps Wilson's life for updating purposes
    63 45:41 48:23 Analyzes Wilson's inability to get Senate approval for the League of Nations
    64 50:06 52:10 Discussion of the Peace Conference in Paris
    65 52:23 53:07 Predicts how the 25th Amendment to the Constitution would have affected Wilson's Presidency
    66 53:37 55:04 Discussion of Longbranch, NJ
    67 55:50 56:04 An overview of items housed in the Wilson Museum in Staunton, VA
    68 56:25 57:28 Discussion of Russian Revolutions and American support and disapproval
    69 58:02 58:52 Discussion of the genealogy of American Presidents
    70 1:00:07 1:02:26 Norris gives a tour of the Wilson Museum Beginning with a short hand book, Wilson's thesis paper, and paintings by Wilson's first wife, Ellen.
    71 1:03:12 1:03:49 Caller presents a questionable fact about Wilson's foot pains at the Treaty of Versailles Peace Conference.
    72 1:03:50 1:04:53 Discusses painting of Wilson's first wife as well as her death
    73 1:04:56 1:05:54 An introduction to Wilson's books and a further tour of the museum
    74 1:06:05 1:08:41 Further discussion of the Leo Frank case in Georgia
    75 1:09:17 1:09:51 Discusses a second treaty administered under the Harding administration that resembled the Treaty of Versailles
    76 1:09:51 1:10:40 Discusses the backlash against Wilson Democrats, prompting the election of Warren Harding in 1920
    77 1:10:48 1:12:08 Describes US relationship with Germany and England before and after WWI, as well as the smuggling of rifles on the Lusitania
    78 1:12:13 1:14:14 Discusses Wilson's series on Public Administration and names intellectual presidents
    79 1:14:22 1:15:19 Caller provides more information on the hometown and burial site of Wilson's first wife.
    80 1:15:20 1:16:14 Norris gives more insight as to what can be seen in the Museum of Woodrow Wilson Heritage Home.
    81 1:16:30 1:17:44 Caller gives more insight into the views and activities of the KKK, of which his grandfather was a member.
    82 1:17:47 1:19:03 Discussion of Wilson's funeral and burial site with a visual of both
    83 1:19:19 1:20:38 Discussion of Wilson's stroke and the effects it had on his appearances in public
    84 1:20:39 1:21:32 Suggestions of where to find information and visuals that aide in learning more about Woodrow Wilson and a discussion of the Wilson Museum in Staunton
    85 1:21:38 1:22:46 Discussion of who was "in charge" while Wilson was bed-ridden by his stroke
    86 1:23:01 1:24:26 Clarification of who was allowed to join The League of Nations and what Wilson thought of Native Americans, Asians, and third-world countries that tried to gain sovereignty
    Watch Clip 86
    87 1:24:31 1:25:10 Discussion of Wilson's position on the Armenian genocide of 1915
    88 1:25:54 1:26:14 Final input of some issues that experts would have liked to talk about, if time permitted

    The Papers Of Woodrow Wilson
    Video Clip List
    Clip # Start Time End Time Description
    1 0:00 4:05 Scholar John Haynes of the Library of Congress shows Wilson's hand-written recommendations for curriculum reform while he was president of Princeton University; Focus on l907 "Quad Residential Plan"
    2 4:06 7:55 Historian Haynes displays and discusses Wilson's hand-written drafts and personally typed documents: Declaration of War and Fourteen Points
    3 7:56 10:20 View and discussion of the Treaty of Versailles; Commentary on Wilson's writing style and annotations; Mention of paper quality
    4 10:20 13:59 Discussion and view of personal correspondence with commentary on Wilson's romantic life; Haynes reads two "love letters" written by the President to Edith Wilson
    5 13:59 16:27 Discussion of Wilson's 1919 stroke and intention to "hide from the public" the president's condition; View of Edith Wilson's correspondence with executive secretary Joseph Tumulty as illustration
    6 16:28 17:25 Discussion on "presidential disability" and factors that led to the twenty-fifth amendment

    Presidential Letters
    (from American President Woodrow Wilson Program)
    Video Clip List
    Clip # Start Time End Time Description
    1 0:00 0:57 Musical and visual introduction to Presidential Letters
    2 0:58 3:36 Andrew Carroll's commentary on the "process of taking pen to paper" and revelations in private correspondence
    3 3:37 8:32: Overview of selected letters and revelations about their authors: Clinton (to ROTC board), Eisenhower (to his wife, April 1944), Grant (to his wife, April 1865) and Lincoln (description of "humiliating courtship")
    4 8:32 10:12 Carroll reads l8l8 letter of condolence from Jefferson to John Adams. ("Time and silence are the only medicines.")
    5 10:56 13:40 Discussion of letters from modern presidents: Kennedy (war letter), Truman (controversy over defense of his daughter's bad review and l963 letter on atomic bomb)
    6 13:40 15:17 Discussion on the process of finding and publishing presidential letters
    7 15:17 16:38 Discussion with visuals: FDR correspondence to Winston Churchill (December 8, l941)
    8 16:38 18:00 Discussion with visuals: Correspondence between Kennedy and Khrushchev during the Cuban Missile Crisis
    9 21:19 22:49 General discussion on presidents' correspondence with their wives, specifically Washington and Adams

    Tour Of The Woodrow Wilson House In Washington, DC
    (from American President Woodrow Wilson Program)
    Video Clip List
    Clip # Start Time End Time Description
    1 0:00 0:20 Introduction to Wilson House Tour in celebration of Wilson's 140th birthday
    2 1:27 20:06 Claire Murphy provides house tour of Wilson family home after the president left office; Various rooms and artifacts on display
    3 20:07 21:57 Discussion of Edith Wilson's controversial role after President Wilson's stroke
    4 22:46 23:44 Wilson's relationship with Colonel House
    5 23:44 28:13 Wilson family home: tour, artifacts and anecdotes

    Presidential Campaign Songs
    (from American President Woodrow Wilson Program)
    Video Clip List
    Clip # Start Time End Time Description
    1 0:00 0:23 Introduction to performance with songwriter, Oscar Brand, from his CD, Presidential Campaign Songs: 1789-1996
    2 0:24 2:26 Performance and discussion of Herbert Hoover's l928 campaign song
    3 2:50 3:56 Performance and discussion of campaign song for Kennedy-Johnson l960 ticket
    4 3:59 6:05 Performance and discussion of songs for Washington and Adams (including the tune later used for "The Star Spangled Banner")
    5 6:33 7:53 Discussion and performance of l840 campaign song for Martin Van Buren
    6 8:23 9:18 Discussion and performance of 1956 campaign song for Adlai Stevenson
    7 9:18 14:09 Discussion on the history and influence of campaign songs
    8 14:09 17:20 Discussion and performance: George H.W. Bush's campaign song adapted from Woody Guthrie's music
    9 17:40 19:03 Discussion and performance on the origins of the American national anthem
    10 19:56 21:12 Discussion and performance of Jefferson's campaign song, criticizing the Alien and Sedition Act under Adams
    11 21:13 22:30 Discussion and performance of Warren Harding's 1920 campaign song (by Al Jolson) and Al Smith's l928 campaign song (by Irving Berlin)
    12 23:12 23:45 Discussion and performance of Jimmy Carter's campaign song
    13 23:45 25:34 Comparison between older songs and more contemporary campaign songs
    14 27:28 28:53 Discussion and performance of "Lincoln and Liberty Too"
    15 28:54 31:32 Comment on songs of losing candidates featuring George Wallace's l948 campaign song, "Same Old Merry Go Round"
    16 31:47 34:22 Background and professional history of Oscar Brand
    17 34:34 35:59 Brand discusses benefits of contemporary media
    18 36:44 37:26 Performance of song opposing William McKinley; Mention of influence of Gilbert and Sullivan on American campaign songs
    19 38:35 38:58 Performance and discussion of song criticizing President Grant's support for Reconstruction
    20 40:04 41:44 Performance and discussion of campaign songs for William Howard Taft ("Get On a Raft With Taft") and Grover Cleveland ("Ma, Ma Where's My Pa?")
    21 41:44 43:44 Brand discusses copyright laws governing song parodies
    22 45:05 46:04 Conclusion: Brand sings parody of "This Land is Your Land"


    Created by America's Cable Companies.