Woodrow Wilson – Washington DC
Woodrow Wilson was our 28th President and served from 1913 – 1921, He was known, most notably for promoting the League of Nations at the end of the Great War (1918) in his attempts to convince Congress to ratify the Treaty of Versailles. Wilson’s “Fourteen Points” and specifically his support of ‘self-determination’ tends to be overstated in the history books. At the end of the Great War, which would eventually come to be known as World War I, Wilson advocated for the self-determination of European peoples, specifically those that had been part of the defeated Great Powers. He was less of an advocate for the peoples of the periphery, those colonies of the European powers or the lands under mandates from the fallen Ottoman Empire.
Another lesser known detail of Wilsonian America was his Administration’s reversal of civil service desegregation. Yes, you read that correctly. Wilson re-segregated the federal work force while advocating progressive advocacy for labor at home and “self-determination” abroad (or at least partially).
Like America, Wilson’s legacy is complicated. We cannot accept the good, without acknowledging the bad and in doing so, recognizing that all of our leaders are and were imperfect. Once we accept America’s “mortality,” it becomes a bit easier to honestly address our issues.
In October 1919, Wilson suffered an irreversible stroke from which he never recovered. Interestingly, despite the cabinet and those close to him recognizing his incapacity, there was no attempt to remove him from office. The 25th Amendment would not be proposed and ratified until 1967 establishing the presidential line of succession.
Given his health concerns, Wilson and his wife Edith moved to this home near Embassy Row in NW Washington DC. Wilson lived here until his death on February 3, 1924. He was interred at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.
Woodrow Wilson was the last president to remain in Washington D.C. after leaving office until President Obama.