How did Wilson promote his 14 points in the US?

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In January 1918, President Woodrow Wilson announced his Fourteen Points in a joint session of the United States Congress. The Fourteen Points reflected the idealism of President Wilson. America's European Allies and the US Senate opposed most of the Fourteen Points. Wilson's idealism and lack of flexibility led to the...

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In January 1918, President Woodrow Wilson announced his Fourteen Points in a joint session of the United States Congress. The Fourteen Points reflected the idealism of President Wilson. America's European Allies and the US Senate opposed most of the Fourteen Points. Wilson's idealism and lack of flexibility led to the ultimate demise of the Fourteen Points—especially the League of Nations, which was the Fourteenth Point.

World War I ended in November 1918. The victorious powers—America, France, Britain, and Italy—met in Versailles to work out a peace treaty. Wilson's allies had suffered enormous casualties during the war, and they wanted revenge. They wanted to punish their former enemies by making them pay large reparations and accepting blame for the war. Wilson, who personally attended the peace conference, reluctantly accepted the harsh treaty. He believed the League of Nations could preserve peace.

While he was out of the country, Wilson had lost public support. His party lost the midterm elections of 1918.

Because of vengeful European Allies, Wilson's Fourteen Points were reduced to the League of Nations. He assumed that the US Senate would accept American membership in the League. But the Senate had other ideas. Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, the head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, led the opposition to Wilson's League.

Refusing to compromise or even accept criticism, Wilson went on a speaking tour of the country in 1919. He hoped to win public support for American membership in the League, thereby outflanking the Senate. Wilson's arduous speaking tour led to his physical collapse. His failed speaking tour was really his first and only effort to promote any of his Fourteen Points in the US.

Wilson's health and his presidency were ruined, and America never did join the League of Nations.

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Wilson promoted his 14 points by:

1) Giving speeches to Congress.

The most famous of his speeches was the "Fourteen Points" speech given to the United States Congress on January 8th, 1918. Wilson's 14 points included solutions to territorial disputes among combatant nations, the responsible reduction of national armaments, the promise of free trade and freedom of the seas, and most importantly, a proposal for a League of Nations.

2) Embarking on a tour across the country to put his case to the American people.

Wilson traveled 8000 miles in 22 days to bring his idea of a League of Nations to the American people. He tried to persuade the American people to support his ideal of an international community coming together to prevent future bloodshed and war. Wilson wanted to show the American people that isolationism was no longer a viable alternative in a world filled with violence and revolution.

3) Traveling to Europe to use his 14 points in treaty negotiations for the end of WWI.

In December 1918, Wilson traveled to Europe to help negotiate the treaty of Versailles. Wilson's most prized initiative was the creation of a League of Nations. The president signed the treaty in Versailles on June 28, 1919, convinced that his League of Nations would adequately handle any territorial disputes with Germany. However, America's membership in Wilson's favored League of Nations was abandoned because of Article X, which committed all League members to protect "the territorial integrity and existing political independence of all Members of the League" against any "external aggression."

The Republicans in Congress feared that Article X would make America the world's policeman. Progressives also feared that the peace-making authority of the League was too weak to be effective in any world conflict. As a result, the Senate ultimately voted against ratification of the treaty. Despite not realizing his dream of American involvement in the League of Nations before his death in 1924, Wilson would have been pleased to know that his idealism inspired the creation of the United Nations on October 24, 1945. This time, the United States Senate approved ratification of the treaty on July 28, 1945.

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