National Trust for Historic Preservation

1916 Election

1916 Election Overlay


Woodrow Wilson became the first Democratic president since Andrew Jackson to be elected to two consecutive terms of office when he defeated Supreme Court Justice Charles Evans Hughes in the 1916 Presidential Election.

Hughes, the Republican candidate, was defeated by nearly 600,000 votes in the popular vote. The election took place while World War I was being fought in Europe, and while Mexico was going through the Mexican Revolution. The Republican candidate Hughes criticized Wilson for not taking the “necessary preparations” to face the conflict in Europe, which only strengthened Wilson’s image as the anti-war candidate. Public sentiment leaned towards the British and French (Allied) forces but the country remained neutral towards the conflict in Europe. The Democrats’ re-election campaign slogan “He Kept Us Out of War” painted Wilson as a peacemaker. President Wilson would lead the United States into World War I after Germany’s aggressive and unrelenting wartime tactics left the him no choice in 1917.

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