In 1854, on this day the twenty-ninth President of the United States Thomas Riley Marshall (pictured) was born in North Manchester, Indiana.
President MarshallA prominent lawyer in Indiana, he became an active and well known member of the Indiana Democratic Party by stumping across the state for other candidates and organizing party rallies that later helped him win election as the 27th Governor of Indiana. In office, he proposed a controversial and progressive state constitution and pressed for other progressive era reforms. The Republican minority used the state courts to block the attempt to change the constitution.
His popularity as governor, and Indiana's status as a critical swing state, helped him secure the Democratic vice presidential nomination on a ticket with Wilson in 1912 and win the subsequent general election. An ideological rift developed between the two men during their first term, leading Wilson to limit Marshall's influence in the administration, and his brand of humor caused Wilson to move Marshall's office away from the White House. During Marshall's second term he delivered morale-boosting speeches across the nation during World War I and became the first vice president to hold cabinet meetings, which he did while Wilson was in Europe. As events transpired this unusual deputisation foreshadowed a smooth rise to the Presidency, because Wilson's obsession with internationalism exhausted him to the point of ruining his health.
Woodrow's achievements in the peace settlement process were recognized with a Nobel Peace Prize in 1919. But isolationists in the US Congress blocked his proposed membership of the League of Nations. He travelled across the nation in an attempt to gain popular backing. But it was too much for his already fragile health and on 2nd October 1919, he suffered a fatal stroke and Thomas Riley Marshall assumed office. Uncoupled from the grander issue of striking a course between isolationism and internationalism, his immediate focus narrowed to moderating the Democrats enough to triumph in the 1920 election.