Wednesday, October 2, 2013

October 2 - Woodrow Wilson's stroke

On October 2, 1919, President Woodrow Wilson suffered a stroke at the White House that left him partly paralyzed on his left side and blind in one eye. He had collapsed in late September while on a U.S. speaking tour to raise support for the Treaty of Versailles and U.S. participation in the League of Nations in the aftermath of World War I. The American public was left largely uninformed, and at times misled, about the nature and extent of Wilson’s incapacity. The White House said he was suffering from "nervous exhaustion." For the remainder of his second term, through 1921, Wilson’s strong-willed second wife, Edith, screened and selected issues that reached her husband. She opposed allowing Vice President Thomas Marshall to assume the presidential powers. She later wrote that her goal was to protect Wilson’s physical and mental health. Before the stroke, Wilson was an avid golfer. He holds the presidential record for the most rounds of golf played – more than 1,000, almost one every two days. He even played in the snow with golf balls painted black.

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