In The Educational Legacy of Woodrow Wilson, James Axtell brings together essays by eight leading historians and one historically minded political scientist to examine the long, formative academic phase of Wilson's career and its connection to his relatively brief tenure in politics. Together, the essays provide a greatly revised picture of Wilson's whole career and a deeply nuanced understanding of the evolution of his educational, political, and social philosophy and policies, the ordering of his values and priorities, and the seamless link between his academic and political lives. The contributors shed light on Wilson's unexpected rise to the governorship of New Jersey and the presidency, and how he prepared for elective office through his long study of government and the practice of academic politics, which he deemed no less fierce than that of Washington. In both spheres he was enormously successful, propelling a string of progressive and Progressive reforms through faculty and legislative forums. Only after he was beset by health problems and events beyond his control did he fail to push his academic and post war agendas to their logical, idealistic conclusions.
James Axtell, Kenan Professor of Humanities Emeritus at the College of William and Mary, is the author of many books, most recently The Making of Princeton University: From Woodrow Wilson to the Present.