Woodrow Wilson was the 28th President of the United States who is famous for bringing about a reformation in America through his antitrust laws, establishing the Federal Reserve System and winning the Nobel Peace Prize for his contribution to the international organization League of Nations. Here are 10 major accomplishments and achievements of President Woodrow Wilson.
#1 He became governor of New Jersey in 1910
Woodrow Wilson was a political science author and published several works on the subject. He served as the President of Princeton University from 1902 to 1910. In 1910, Wilson defeated Republican candidate Vivian M. Lewis by more than 650,000 votes to become Governor of New Jersey. As governor, Wilson passed several progressive legislation including bills to reduce bribery of government officials, to establish the Public Utility Commission to set utility rates, and to establish a workers’ compensation program. His work as New Jersey governor won Wilson national fame.
#2 Woodrow Wilson served as the President of the U.S. from 1912 to 1921
With popular support behind him and due to his success as the governor of New Jersey, Democratic Party nominated Wilson for the 1912 United States presidential election. Woodrow Wilson won the election to become the 28th President of the United States in 1913. He was re-elected thus serving as President till 1921. Wilson was the only president from the Democratic Party between 1892 and 1932, and the second of only two Democrats to be elected president between 1860 and 1932.
#3 Federal Reserve was established during his presidency
The Federal Reserve Act was signed into law by President Wilson on December 23, 1913. It created and established the Federal Reserve System, the central banking system of the United States. It also gave the newly established system legal authority to issue Federal Reserve Notes (U.S. Dollar). The act had far reaching implications including the internationalization of the U.S. Dollar as a global currency.
#4 The Clayton Antitrust Act was passed to prevent anticompetitive practices
The Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890 was the first Federal law outlawing practices considered harmful to consumers. President Wilson pushed through Congress the Clayton Antitrust Act which was signed into law on October 15, 1914. The Act made certain business practices illegal like agreements prohibiting retailers from handling other companies’ products. It was more powerful than previous anti-trust laws since it dictated accountability of individual corporate officers and clarified guidelines.
#5 Federal Trade Commission was established
Woodrow Wilson signed the Federal Trade Commission Act in September 1914 which established the Federal Trade Commission, a five-member board, to regulate questionable business practices. The two antitrust laws and the Federal Trade Commission are instrumental in protecting “the process of competition for the benefit of consumers, making sure there are strong incentives for businesses to operate efficiently, keep prices down, and keep quality up.” They are the core of antitrust laws and remain relevant till today.
#6 He took a number of pro-farmer measures
A series of programs were started for the benefit of farmers. The Smith–Lever Act of 1914 which, among other things, helped farmers to learn new agricultural techniques by the introduction of home instruction. The Federal Farm Loan Act of 1916 was enacted for the purpose of increasing credit to rural family farmers. It did so by creating a federal farm loan board, twelve regional farm loan banks and tens of farm loan associations. Through competitive loans, the Act allowed farmers to compete with big business.
#7 He prevented economic disaster by his max eight hour workday proposal
In 1916, a strike by railroad workers threatened the U.S. economy. Wilson settled the issue by his maximum eight hour work day proposal. The Adamson Act was passed incorporating the president’s proposal. It established an eight-hour workday, with additional pay for overtime work, for interstate railroad workers. The strike was cancelled and Wilson was praised for averting a national economic disaster.
#8 Woodrow Wilson was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1919
The League of Nations was an intergovernmental organisation founded in 1920 as a result of the Paris Peace Conference that ended the First World War. President Woodrow Wilson was one of the primary persons responsible for the formation of the League and he strongly influenced the form it took. Due to his efforts towards international peace he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in October 1919.
#9 Nationwide women’s suffrage was implemented in 1920
For years Woodrow Wilson favoured women suffrage at the state level but declined support to a nationwide constitutional amendment that would give women the right to vote. This was probably because his party was divided on the issue. However after the major role played by women during World War I, Wilson made a strong and widely published appeal to the House in favour of the suffrage amendment. Wilson’s approval was crucial to the cause. Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was formally signed in 1920. It prohibits any United States citizen from being denied the right to vote on the basis of sex.
#10 His ideology on foreign policy gave rise to Wilsonianism
In January 1918, Wilson put forward his famous Fourteen Points to achieve world peace in a speech on War Aims and Peace Terms. These points along with Wilson’s ideology on foreign policy gave rise to Wilsonianism. Among other things, Wilsonianism calls for advocacy of democracy and capitalism. Several presidents of the U.S. including Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama have been repeatedly referenced as continuing the tradition of Wilsonianism in America.