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Why did the Senate oppose U.S. membership in League of Nations after World War I?

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angeleyes69301 | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted October 20, 2011 at 11:54 AM via web

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Why did the Senate oppose U.S. membership in League of Nations after World War I?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted October 20, 2011 at 12:04 PM (Answer #1)

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The major reason for this was the fact that many Senators were afraid that membership in the League of Nations would reduce the sovereignty of the United States and its ability to have complete control over its own foreign policy and military actions.

The treaty creating the League of Nations committed members of the League to defend the independence of any other member that got attacked by another country.  Many Senators worried that this would force the US to go to war whenever any member of the League was attacked by another country.  This would, they felt, rob the US of its control over its military and its foreign policy.

The Senate, then, rejected membership in the League of Nations to prevent the US from being forced to fight whenever another member of the League was attacked.

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beardian | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Assistant Educator

Posted December 22, 2014 at 4:24 AM (Answer #2)

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When Woodrow Wilson introduced the League of Nations in his Fourteen Points, the Senate ended up voting against it by a vote of 49-35.  Senate majority leader Henry Cabot argued that the US would be giving up too much power by joining the League of Nations. Cabot argued that joining the League would commit the US to an expensive collective security group that would reduce our chances of defending our own interests; the idea was that international disputes could be mediated in habitually-neutral Switzerland, which would potentially deter wars in the future (remember- the world had just suffered through WWI).  

Additionally, many opponents did not want to become involved in an organization where the US would possibly become entangled with European politics again, as WWI had proved to be a bloody war that many felt the US had no place in joining.  

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