What was Woodrow Wilson's argument in his speech about Declaration of War against Germany (1917)?

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pholland14 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Wilson wanted the United States to enter the war as an "associated power" on the side of Britain, France, and Russia in order to make the world safe for democracy.  Wilson claimed that the German pledge of unrestricted submarine warfare was both hurting American economic and humanitarian interests in Europe.  Wilson cited attacks on hospital ships as well as ships bringing food to Belgium—before this, German atrocities against Belgium had been in the news.  Wilson claimed that this was a war for democratic ideals and he referenced the recent Russian Revolution; of course, this was before the rise of the Bolsheviks in Russia.  Wilson claims that this was not a war against the German people themselves, but rather their government.  Throughout the speech, one gets an idea that Wilson is reluctant to go to war but feels as though it is America's duty to spread civilization and democratic principles in Europe.