Largely forgotten by history, Thomas Riley Marshall served as Vice President in the administration of President Woodrow Wilson. Born and raised in Indiana, Marshall came from a prominent local family and was well-educated, but struggled against his own personal demons. Rescued from professional oblivion by his devoted wife Lois, Marshall began a meteoric political career that in less than five years took him from the life of a small town lawyer to the Vice Presidency of the United States.
It was in that position that Marshall faced one of the most difficult choices to confront an American politician. With the fate of the world resting on the success or failure of the Treaty of Versailles and the proposed League of Nations, President Woodrow Wilson suffered a debilitating stroke that undoubtedly qualified as the type of disability that, under the United States Constitution, should have led Marshall to assume the powers of the presidency.
Marshall’s decision is just one aspect of the fascinating life of Vice President Thomas Riley Marshall.