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The Fight over the Treaty begins.  When Wilson returned home from France his political mistakes became apparent:  a) When he had picked members of the.

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Presentation on theme: "The Fight over the Treaty begins.  When Wilson returned home from France his political mistakes became apparent:  a) When he had picked members of the."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Fight over the Treaty begins

2  When Wilson returned home from France his political mistakes became apparent:  a) When he had picked members of the American Peace Commissioners he left off Republicans and Senators  b) Republicans controlled the Senate and the Senate would have to vote to approve any peace treaty by a 2/3 majority.

3  Wilson could not see why anyone would not approve the treaty.  Republican senators raised objections to the League, arguing that US membership would interfere with US sovereignty.  They were also afraid that it would violate the Monroe Doctrine and allow European nations to intervene in affairs of the Americas.

4  Article X (10) of the covenant of the League said member nations would have to protect the independence and territorial integrity of other nations.  This meant that an attack on one nation could mean the others would have to fight.  This concept was contrary to the US tradition of staying out of “entangling alliances”.  Wilson refused to compromise on Article X which proved to be a foolish move.

5  Wilson was partly to blame for his trouble in winning the Senate ratification.  He made the mistake of asking the American people to be patriotic and vote Democrat in the midterm elections.  Republicans won a solid majority in the House and a majority of two in the Senate.  Now in 1919 Wilson needed Republican cooperation in the Senate for the Treaty of Versailles to be ratified.

6  Senators opposed to the Treaty of Versailles were divided into two groups and were led by two Republican Senators with different agendas:  The irreconcilable faction, consisting of about a dozen Republican senators, could not accept membership in the League no matter how the covenant was worded.  This was led by William E Borah, he believed the US should stay independent and act in its own best interests.  He opposed the League because it would take away US independence.

7  The reservationist faction was led by Henry Cabot Lodge.  The reservationists said they could accept the League if certain reservations were added to the League.  Lodge controlled the Committee that recommended treaties for a Senate vote.  He was a close friend of Teddy Roosevelt, he hated Wilson and did not like the League.

8  Wilson believed his policy could prevail if he could personally rally public support.  He boarded a train and went on an arduous speaking tour to the West to make speeches for the League of Nations.  This proved to be a big mistake, as he collapsed on Sept 25 th 1919 after delivering a speech in Colorado.

9  Wilson returned to Washington and a few days later suffered a massive stroke from which he never recovered.  He spent the next 8 months in bed.  His wife carried messages for him and to him but she may have edited some she did not like. (Woman President?)

10  Wilson made another mistake when he made the 1920 election a “solemn national referendum” on the League.  The Senate voted twice on the Treaty question in November  The treaty was defeated both times, with and without reservations.  Wilson might have been able to set up a compromise with Lodge if he had tried.

11  In 1920, a number of Democrats joined the reservationist Republicans in voting for the Treaty with reservations.  The ailing Wilson directed his loyal supporters to reject any reservations and they joined with the irreconcilables in defeating the Treaty.  Warren Harding the Republican defeated James Cox the Democrat easily.

12  The American people had chosen to stay out of the league.  Public interest in the peace process faded- partly as a reaction to the tragic bitterness of the ratification fight, but more in a response to a series of other crises.  It was not until after Wilson left office in 1921 did the US make a separate peace with Germany.  It never ratified the Treaty of Versailles nor did it ever join the League of Nations.

13  How did the peace treaty fail?  To what extent were Woodrow Wilson’s illness and his refusal to compromise responsible for the defeat of the Treaty of Versailles in the US Senate?


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