World War I Essay

1084 words - 4 pages

The United States had entered World War I against many wishes of the American public, which made the ratification for the peace agreement an even more difficult task. Woodrow Wilson justified American involvement by claiming that an Ally victory would ensure a new world order. The war would be used as an instrument to "make the world safe for democracy". However, many Americans, government officials, and even the Allies did not agree with the progressive ideals that would be enforced to attain the peace that Wilson had desired and promised. This was made evident when Wilson's negotiations for the peace treaty were criticized and rejected by the leaders of the other Allied nations and isolationists. Even when Wilson acknowledged objections against his proposals, he refused to accept any compromises or different versions of the treaty. Therefore, both the inflexibility of Wilson and strength of the opposition forces led to the defeat of the Treaty of Versailles.
Woodrow Wilson's battle for ratification with the Senate proved to be difficult and time consuming. From the beginning, Wilson had already angered and frustrated the Republicans, when he advocated Democratic votes for the midterm elections of 1918. However, in that election, Republicans had won a majority in the House of Representatives and in the Senate. Because of this event, instead of getting the votes he needed for ratification, he had to face the Republicans' unwavering hostility, especially from Senator Henry Cabot Lodge. Even the liberals who were receptive to Wilson's war aims were disappointed at the peace treaty that was to be ratified. They believed that the treaty did not solve any crises, but rather deepened the existing disagreement (Doc B).
The proposal that caused the most controversy was Wilson's League of Nation. It was to be a permanent international organization that would administer world affairs and prevent against future world conflicts. The League was the epitome of Wilson's idealistic values, it would be the main approach to attain the peace between neighboring nations that he guaranteed.
However, Republican Senators, some known as irreconcilables, and some fervent isolationists, objected because they believed that American membership would interfere with not only US sovereignty, but also defy constitutional laws, like the Monroe Doctrine. The Monroe Doctrine allowed the United States to oppose European intervention in the Western Hemisphere. By passing the League of Nations, it would violate that right because the United States would unify itself with other world powers, which would entangle Americans in foreign conflicts (Doc E).
The League of Nations would also welcome foreign nations to administer control and power over the United States. America's democratic system would be influenced by the values of other forms of government. In a speech by Willian Borah to Congress, he said, "Will anyone advocate… a tribunal created other...

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