Critically assess Woodrow Wilson's reluctance to enter World  War I.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that a part of Wilson's reluctance comes from his own legislative record as President.  Wilson enacted reforms that spoke for the lowest in society, reflective of his idealism.  Prior to World War I, President Wilson constructed much in way of labor and economic reforms.  Initiatives such as the Underwood Tarriff Act and the establishment of the Fed were measures that sought to benefit the general public.  At the same time, President Wilson was instrumental in the establishment of the Federal Trade Commission and antitrust legislation.  This reflects how Wilson's ideals were driven to represent those who might not have been on the highest of ends in the economic or social strata.  This idealism is not consistent with a zeal towards war.  

Wilson's reluctance to enter the war is also seen in how long it took for America to involve itself in the war.  President Wilson demonstrated reluctance in not seeking an opportunity to enter it.  President Wilson went out of his way to express American neutrality in "thought and deed."  President Wilson becomes moved towards the reality of war when confronted with the perceived threat of German expansion.

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Woodrow Wilson

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