2006 Symposium

The Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library held its 2006 academic symposium on the topic “Jefferson, Lincoln, and Wilson: The Dilemma of Democracy and Race” at the Stonewall Jackson Hotel & Conference Center in Staunton, Virginia, on September 14-16.  As part of the 150th celebration of Woodrow Wilson's birth, the Library elected to place Wilson in the company of Jefferson and Lincoln in order to explore the topics of democracy and race in three pivotal presidencies.  Sessions consisted of one panel for each President with three presenters and a moderator, and the keynote address was given by Mary Frances Berry, the Geraldine R. Segal Professor of American Social Thought and Professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania.  The symposium produced lively debate among a distinguished group of scholars as well as a book of essays to be published by University of Virginia Press in 2010.    

Below is the complete list of speakers from the symposium:  

Keynote Speaker: 
Mary Frances Berry, University of Pennsylvania 

Jefferson Session: 
Peter S. Onuf, University of Virginia 

Annette Gordon-Reed, New York Law School 

Lucia Stanton, Thomas Jefferson Foundation 

Moderator: Andrew O'Shaughnessy, Thomas Jefferson Foundation 

Lincoln Session:

Jean H. Baker, Goucher College 

David W. Blight, Yale University 

Eric Foner, Columbia University 

Moderator: Reginald Butler, University of Virginia


did you know?

Wilson was president throughout World War I. He attempted to keep America out of the war and even won reelection with the slogan "He kept us out of war." Nonetheless, after the sinking of the Lusitania, continued run-ins with German submarines, and the release of the Zimmerman Telegram, America became involved. with the Lusitania, the continued harassment of American ships by German submarines, and the release of the Zimmerman Telegram meant that America joined the allies in April, 1917.

Woodrow Wilson was President when the 19th amendment was ratified in 1920 giving women the right to vote.

Wilson piloted the ship that brought America onto the world stage. He made the first steps of leading us out of isolationism, violating Washington's tenet of avoiding foreign entanglements.

He led America during World War I. His fervent hope was for the US to join a League of Nations, the precursor to the United Nations.

A Woodrow Wilson Quote: "Life does not consist in thinking, it consists in acting."

A Woodrow Wilson Quote: "The Constitution was not made to fit us like a straitjacket. In its elasticity lies its chief greatness."

A Woodrow Wilson Quote: "I believe in democracy because it releases the energies of every human being."

The Seventeenth Amendment was formally adopted on May 31, 1913. Wilson had been president for almost three months at the time. The amendment provided for the direct election of senators. Prior to its adoption, Senators were chosen by state legislatures.

Wilson was the first president to receive a PhD which he got in Political Science from Johns Hopkins University. He had received his undergraduate degree from the College of New Jersey, renamed Princeton University in 1896.

Woodrow Wilson could not read during the first decade of his life. Though undiagnosed, he may have suffered from a learning disability

Woodrow Wilson was known as "Tommy" until his college years.

Woodrow Wilson during his boyhood, helped establish the "Lightfoot Baseball Club" with his friends. Wilson played second base and was an avid sport fan throughout his adult life.

Woodrow Wilson was the first president to attend the Major League Baseball Fall Classic. He saw the debut of a young 20 year old pitcher by the name of George Herman "Babe" Ruth.

Woodrow Wilson was a graduate of Princeton University and Johns Hopkins University and the only president to hold an earned doctoral degree.

Woodrow Wilson image is on the $100,000 bill although it is no longer in circulation