Documents: US Becomes A World Power


As World War I began winding down, Wilson and his advisors, began to formulate plans for peace. Wilson drew up a statement which came to be called the Fourteen Points that he delivered to Congress in January 1918. In the speech to the joint session of the United States Congress, President Woodrow Wilson summarized three major goals in his Fourteen Points for ending the war and attempting to attain lasting peace for not only Europe, but the world. The goals were as follows: A. Improved international relations—Removal of international trade barriers, honor freedom of the seas, advocate open communication with no secret alliances in an international association of nations, and allow for self-rule of nationalities. B. Restoration of territories—Return to pre-war boundaries and make fair adjustments of all colonial claims. C. Restriction on military strength—Military reductions for all nations, especially Germany including demilitarization along the Rhine River. The most controversial part of the proposal was the creation of a League of Nations described in the 14th Point. Both former President Teddy Roosevelt and Senator Henry Cabot Lodge led opposition in the U.S. Senate to ratification of the treaty which had been negotiated in France and included the League of Nations. Against the advice of his doctors, Wilson set out on a railroad tour to build up public support for ratification of the treaty. In October 1919, Wilson suffered a stroke which left him an invalid for the rest of his life. Wilson continued to refuse to compromise on his position, and as a result, the U. S. Senate failed to acquire the two-thirds vote needed to ratify the treaty and the proposed League.