Volume III: Biographies


WILSON, Woodrow *

Film subject (1913)

Thanhouser Career Synopsis: Scenes from Woodrow Wilson's presidential inaugural ceremony were included in films released in 1913 by Thanhouser.

Biographical Notes: Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924) was elected to the presidency in 1912 in a political contest which saw conservative and progressive factions of the Republican Party split between William Howard Taft, the incumbent, and Theodore Roosevelt, who came out of retirement to announce his candidacy. When the election results were tallied, Woodrow Wilson won in a landslide with 435 electoral votes, as compared to 88 for Roosevelt and a paltry eight for Taft. After Wilson took office, he named William Jennings Bryan, the unsuccessful Democratic candidate in the elections of 1896, 1900, and 1908, as his Secretary of State, in response to the large following still commanded by the so-called Silver-Tongued Orator of the Platte.

Wilson's administration, which extended for two terms, 1913-1921, saw many newsworthy events. The Federal Reserve System was established, the Clayton Anti-Trust Act became law, American troops intervened in the Mexican Revolution (the exploits of Pancho Villa, Huerta, and others furnished fodder for film-makers of the era), and the intervention of the United States into the World War. After hostilities broke out in Europe in August 1914, America maintained a position of neutrality, and, among other restrictions, motion picture producers were not allowed to produce films which showed Germans as the enemy. The sinking of the Lusitania, and other intolerable events, swung public support for the European Allies and against the Germans, and America went to war.

After the armistice was signed on November 11, 1918, President Wilson was undoubtedly the single most influential individual on earth. The economy of England had been severely damaged, and by default the United States was on its way to becoming the world's greatest power. A long-term advocate of peace, Wilson turned his efforts toward the formation of the League of Nations, and was thwarted when his wishes were not followed by the Senate. Wilson is remembered today as an intellectual man of good principles. To his dying day he had the vision of a peaceful world with nations united.

Woodrow Wilson's inaugural ceremony in Washington in 1913 was filmed by Thanhouser, and footage from the event was included in two films released shortly thereafter.

Thanhouser Filmography:

1913: Inauguration Ceremonies (3-5-1913), The Patriot (4-8-1913)

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Copyright © 1995 Q. David Bowers. All Rights Reserved.