What was George W. Norris saying in his speech opposing President Wilson's request for a declaration of war?

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Norris prefaces his speech with the caveat that, while he is opposed to the US being drawn into the war, he will devote "all his energy" to fighting for victory should the US proceed. However, he goes on to state that the reasons Wilson gave for joining the war were not valid, in several ways.

First: he does not feel that Germany having declared a naval "war zone" carried much weight, given that Britain had, in his eyes, already declared the entire ocean a war zone upon the outbreak of war. The US, he says, has deemed both of these occupations of the ocean illegal, but "in the case of Germany we have persisted in our protest, while in the case of England we have submitted."

Norris feels that what America should have done was simply refuse to enter these zones with their ships—meaning that they would have then been "of short duration" as the UK would have been short of supplies. As such, he feels that the US has enabled and prolonged the war zones' existence. By respecting the English...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 572 words.)

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