History of the United States (Beard)/Chapter XXV

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History of the United States by Charles A. Beard
XXV
History of the United States is a 1921 book by American historian Charles A. Beard.

CHAPTER XXV[edit]

PRESIDENT WILSON AND THE WORLD WAR[edit]

"The welfare, the happiness, the energy, and the spirit of the men and women who do the daily work in our mines and factories, on our railroads, in our offices and ports of trade, on our farms, and on the sea are the underlying necessity of all prosperity." Thus spoke Woodrow Wilson during his campaign for election. In this spirit, as President, he gave the signal for work by summoning Congress in a special session on April 7, 1913. He invited the coöperation of all "forward-looking men" and indicated that he would assume the rôle of leadership. As an evidence of his resolve, he appeared before Congress in person to read his first message, reviving the old custom of Washington and Adams. Then he let it be known that he would not give his party any rest until it fulfilled its pledges to the country. When Democratic Senators balked at tariff reductions, they were sharply informed that the party had plighted its word and that no excuses or delays would be tolerated.

Domestic Legislation[edit]

Financial Measures.—Under this spirited leadership Congress went to work, passing first the Underwood tariff act of 1913, which made a downward revision in the rates of duty, fixing them on the average about twenty-six per cent lower than the figures of 1907. The protective principle was retained, but an effort was made to permit a moderate element of foreign competition. As a part of the revenue act Congress levied a tax on incomes as authorized by the sixteenth amendment to the Constitution. The tax which roused such party passions twenty years before was now accepted as a matter of course.

Having disposed of the tariff, Congress took up the old and vexatious currency question and offered a new solution in the form of the federal reserve law of December, 1913. This measure, one of the most interesting in the history of federal finance, embraced four leading features. In the first place, it continued the prohibition on the issuance of notes by state banks and provided for a national currency. In the second place, it put the new banking system under the control of a federal reserve board composed entirely of government officials. To prevent the growth of a "central money power," it provided, in the third place, for the creation of twelve federal reserve banks, one in each of twelve great districts into which the country is divided. All local national banks were required and certain other banks permitted to become members of the new system and share in its control. Finally, with a view to expanding the currency, a step which the Democrats had long urged upon the country, the issuance of paper money, under definite safeguards, was authorized.

Mindful of the agricultural interest, ever dear to the heart of Jefferson's followers, the Democrats supplemented the reserve law by the Farm Loan Act of 1916, creating federal agencies to lend money on farm mortgages at moderate rates of interest. Within a year $20,000,000 had been lent to farmers, the heaviest borrowing being in nine Western and Southern states, with Texas in the lead.

Anti-trust Legislation.—The tariff and currency laws were followed by three significant measures relative to trusts. Rejecting utterly the Progressive doctrine of government regulation, President Wilson announced that it was the purpose of the Democrats "to destroy monopoly and maintain competition as the only effective instrument of business liberty." The first step in this direction, the Clayton Anti-trust Act, carried into great detail the Sherman law of 1890 forbidding and penalizing combinations in restraint of interstate and foreign trade. In every line it revealed a determined effort to tear apart the great trusts and to put all business on a competitive basis. Its terms were reinforced in the same year by a law creating a Federal Trade Commission empowered to inquire into the methods of corporations and lodge complaints against concerns "using any unfair method of competition." In only one respect was the severity of the Democratic policy relaxed. An act of 1918 provided that the Sherman law should not apply to companies engaged in export trade, the purpose being to encourage large corporations to enter foreign commerce.

The effect of this whole body of anti-trust legislation, in spite of much labor on it, remained problematical. Very few combinations were dissolved as a result of it. Startling investigations were made into alleged abuses on the part of trusts; but it could hardly be said that huge business concerns had lost any of their predominance in American industry.

Labor Legislation.—By no mere coincidence, the Clayton Anti-trust law of 1914 made many concessions to organized labor. It declared that "the labor of a human being is not a commodity or an article of commerce," and it exempted unions from prosecution as "combinations in restraint of trade." It likewise defined and limited the uses which the federal courts might make of injunctions in labor disputes and guaranteed trial by jury to those guilty of disobedience (see p. 581).

The Clayton law was followed the next year by the Seamen's Act giving greater liberty of contract to American sailors and requiring an improvement of living conditions on shipboard. This was such a drastic law that shipowners declared themselves unable to meet foreign competition under its terms, owing to the low labor standards of other countries.

Still more extraordinary than the Seamen's Act was the Adamson law of 1916 fixing a standard eight-hour work-day for trainmen on railroads—a measure wrung from Congress under a threat of a great strike by the four Railway Brotherhoods. This act, viewed by union leaders as a triumph, called forth a bitter denunciation of "trade union domination," but it was easier to criticize than to find another solution of the problem.

Three other laws enacted during President Wilson's administration were popular in the labor world. One of them provided compensation for federal employees injured in the discharge of their duties. Another prohibited the labor of children under a certain age in the industries of the nation. A third prescribed for coal miners in Alaska an eight-hour day and modern safeguards for life and health. There were positive proofs that organized labor had obtained a large share of power in the councils of the country.

Federal and State Relations.—If the interference of the government with business and labor represented a departure from the old idea of "the less government the better," what can be said of a large body of laws affecting the rights of states? The prohibition of child labor everywhere was one indication of the new tendency. Mr. Wilson had once declared such legislation unconstitutional; the Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional; but Congress, undaunted, carried it into effect under the guise of a tax on goods made by children below the age limit. There were other indications of the drift. Large sums of money were appropriated by Congress in 1916 to assist the states in building and maintaining highways. The same year the Farm Loan Act projected the federal government into the sphere of local money lending. In 1917 millions of dollars were granted to states in aid of vocational education, incidentally imposing uniform standards throughout the country. Evidently the government was no longer limited to the duties of the policeman.

The Prohibition Amendment.—A still more significant form of intervention in state affairs was the passage, in December, 1917, of an amendment to the federal Constitution establishing national prohibition of the manufacture and sale of intoxicating liquors as beverages. This was the climax of a historical movement extending over half a century. In 1872, a National Prohibition party, launched three years before, nominated its first presidential candidate and inaugurated a campaign of agitation. Though its vote was never large, the cause for which it stood found increasing favor among the people. State after state by popular referendum abolished the liquor traffic within its borders. By 1917 at least thirty-two of the forty-eight were "dry." When the federal amendment was submitted for approval, the ratification was surprisingly swift. In a little more than a year, namely, on January 16, 1919, it was proclaimed. Twelve months later the amendment went into effect.

Colonial and Foreign Policies[edit]

The Philippines and Porto Rico.—Independence for the Philippines and larger self-government for Porto Rico had been among the policies of the Democratic party since the campaign of 1900. President Wilson in his annual messages urged upon Congress more autonomy for the Filipinos and a definite promise of final independence. The result was the Jones Organic Act for the Philippines passed in 1916. This measure provided that the upper as well as the lower house of the Philippine legislature should be elected by popular vote, and declared it to be the intention of the United States to grant independence "as soon as a stable government can be established." This, said President Wilson on signing the bill, is "a very satisfactory advance in our policy of extending to them self-government and control of their own affairs." The following year Congress, yielding to President Wilson's insistence, passed a new organic act for Porto Rico, making both houses of the legislature elective and conferring American citizenship upon the inhabitants of the island.

The Caribbean Region
The Caribbean Region

American Power in the Caribbean.—While extending more self-government to its dominions, the United States enlarged its sphere of influence in the Caribbean. The supervision of finances in Santo Domingo, inaugurated in Roosevelt's administration, was transformed into a protectorate under Wilson. In 1914 dissensions in the republic led to the landing of American marines to "supervise" the elections. Two years later, an officer in the American navy, with authority from Washington, placed the entire republic "in a state of military occupation." He proceeded to suspend the government and laws of the country, exile the president, suppress the congress, and substitute American military authority. In 1919 a consulting board of four prominent Dominicans was appointed to aid the American military governor; but it resigned the next year after making a plea for the restoration of independence to the republic. For all practical purposes, it seemed, the sovereignty of Santo Domingo had been transferred to the United States.

In the neighboring republic of Haiti, a similar state of affairs existed. In the summer of 1915 a revolution broke out there—one of a long series beginning in 1804—and our marines were landed to restore order. Elections were held under the supervision of American officers, and a treaty was drawn up placing the management of Haitian finances and the local constabulary under American authority. In taking this action, our Secretary of State was careful to announce: "The United States government has no purpose of aggression and is entirely disinterested in promoting this protectorate." Still it must be said that there were vigorous protests on the part of natives and American citizens against the conduct of our agents in the island. In 1921 President Wilson was considering withdrawal.

In line with American policy in the West Indian waters was the purchase in 1917 of the Danish Islands just off the coast of Porto Rico. The strategic position of the islands, especially in relation to Haiti and Porto Rico, made them an object of American concern as early as 1867, when a treaty of purchase was negotiated only to be rejected by the Senate of the United States. In 1902 a second arrangement was made, but this time it was defeated by the upper house of the Danish parliament. The third treaty brought an end to fifty years of bargaining and the Stars and Stripes were raised over St. Croix, St. Thomas, St. John, and numerous minor islands scattered about in the neighborhood. "It would be suicidal," commented a New York newspaper, "for America, on the threshold of a great commercial expansion in South America, to suffer a Heligoland, or a Gibraltar, or an Aden to be erected by her rivals at the mouth of her Suez." On the mainland American power was strengthened by the establishment of a protectorate over Nicaragua in 1916.

Mexican Relations.—The extension of American enterprise southward into Latin America, of which the operations in the Caribbean regions were merely one phase, naturally carried Americans into Mexico to develop the natural resources of that country. Under the iron rule of General Porfirio Diaz, established in 1876 and maintained with only a short break until 1911, Mexico had become increasingly attractive to our business men. On the invitation of President Diaz, they had invested huge sums in Mexican lands, oil fields, and mines, and had laid the foundations of a new industrial order. The severe régime instituted by Diaz, however, stirred popular discontent. The peons, or serfs, demanded the break-up of the great estates, some of which had come down from the days of Cortez. Their clamor for "the restoration of the land to the people could not be silenced." In 1911 Diaz was forced to resign and left the country.

Mexico now slid down the path to disorder. Revolutions and civil commotions followed in swift succession. A liberal president, Madero, installed as the successor to Diaz, was deposed in 1913 and brutally murdered. Huerta, a military adventurer, hailed for a time as another "strong man," succeeded Madero whose murder he was accused of instigating. Although Great Britain and nearly all the powers of Europe accepted the new government as lawful, the United States steadily withheld recognition. In the meantime Mexico was torn by insurrections under the leadership of Carranza, a friend of Madero, Villa, a bandit of generous pretensions, and Zapata, a radical leader of the peons. Without the support of the United States, Huerta was doomed.

In the summer of 1914, the dictator resigned and fled from the capital, leaving the field to Carranza. For six years the new president, recognized by the United States, held a precarious position which he vigorously strove to strengthen against various revolutionary movements. At length in 1920, he too was deposed and murdered, and another military chieftain, Obregon, installed in power.

These events right at our door could not fail to involve the government of the United States. In the disorders many American citizens lost their lives. American property was destroyed and land owned by Americans was confiscated. A new Mexican constitution, in effect nationalizing the natural resources of the country, struck at the rights of foreign investors. Moreover the Mexican border was in constant turmoil. Even in the last days of his administration, Mr. Taft felt compelled to issue a solemn warning to the Mexican government protesting against the violation of American rights.

President Wilson, soon after his inauguration, sent a commissioner to Mexico to inquire into the situation. Although he declared a general policy of "watchful waiting," he twice came to blows with Mexican forces. In 1914 some American sailors at Tampico were arrested by a Mexican officer; the Mexican government, although it immediately released the men, refused to make the required apology for the incident. As a result President Wilson ordered the landing of American forces at Vera Cruz and the occupation of the city. A clash of arms followed in which several Americans were killed. War seemed inevitable, but at this juncture the governments of Argentina, Brazil, and Chile tendered their good offices as mediators. After a few weeks of negotiation, during which Huerta was forced out of power, American forces were withdrawn from Vera Cruz and the incident closed.

In 1916 a second break in amicable relations occurred. In the spring of that year a band of Villa's men raided the town of Columbus, New Mexico, killing several citizens and committing robberies. A punitive expedition under the command of General Pershing was quickly sent out to capture the offenders. Against the protests of President Carranza, American forces penetrated deeply into Mexico without effecting the object of the undertaking. This operation lasted until January, 1917, when the imminence of war with Germany led to the withdrawal of the American soldiers. Friendly relations were resumed with the Mexican government and the policy of "watchful waiting" was continued.

The United States and the European War[edit]

The Outbreak of the War.—In the opening days of August, 1914, the age-long jealousies of European nations, sharpened by new imperial ambitions, broke out in another general conflict such as had shaken the world in the days of Napoleon. On June 28, the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne was assassinated at Serajevo, the capital of Bosnia, an Austrian province occupied mainly by Serbs. With a view to stopping Serbian agitation for independence, Austria-Hungary laid the blame for this incident on the government of Serbia and made humiliating demands on that country. Germany at once proposed that the issue should be regarded as "an affair which should be settled solely between Austria-Hungary and Serbia"; meaning that the small nation should be left to the tender mercies of a great power. Russia refused to take this view. Great Britain proposed a settlement by mediation. Germany backed up Austria to the limit. To use the language of the German authorities: "We were perfectly aware that a possible warlike attitude of Austria-Hungary against Serbia might bring Russia upon the field and that it might therefore involve us in a war, in accordance with our duties as allies. We could not, however, in these vital interests of Austria-Hungary which were at stake, advise our ally to take a yielding attitude not compatible with his dignity nor deny him our assistance." That made the war inevitable.

Every day of the fateful August, 1914, was crowded with momentous events. On the 1st, Germany declared war on Russia. On the 2d, the Germans invaded the little duchy of Luxemburg and notified the King of Belgium that they were preparing to violate the neutrality of his realm on their way to Paris. On the same day, Great Britain, anxiously besought by the French government, promised the aid of the British navy if German warships made hostile demonstrations in the Channel. August 3d, the German government declared war on France. The following day, Great Britain demanded of Germany respect for Belgian neutrality and, failing to receive the guarantee, broke off diplomatic relations. On the 5th, the British prime minister announced that war had opened between England and Germany. The storm now broke in all its pitiless fury.

The State of American Opinion.—Although President Wilson promptly proclaimed the neutrality of the United States, the sympathies of a large majority of the American people were without doubt on the side of Great Britain and France. To them the invasion of the little kingdom of Belgium and the horrors that accompanied German occupation were odious in the extreme. Moreover, they regarded the German imperial government as an autocratic power wielded in the interest of an ambitious military party. The Kaiser, William II, and the Crown Prince were the symbols of royal arrogance. On the other hand, many Americans of German descent, in memory of their ties with the Fatherland, openly sympathized with the Central Powers; and many Americans of Irish descent, recalling their long and bitter struggle for home rule in Ireland, would have regarded British defeat as a merited redress of ancient grievances.

Extremely sensitive to American opinion, but ill informed about it, the German government soon began systematic efforts to present its cause to the people of the United States in the most favorable light possible. Dr. Bernhard Dernburg, the former colonial secretary of the German empire, was sent to America as a special agent. For months he filled the newspapers, magazines, and periodicals with interviews, articles, and notes on the justice of the Teutonic cause. From a press bureau in New York flowed a stream of pamphlets, leaflets, and cartoons. A magazine, "The Fatherland," was founded to secure "fair play for Germany and Austria." Several professors in American universities, who had received their training in Germany, took up the pen in defense of the Central Empires. The German language press, without exception it seems, the National German Alliance, minor German societies, and Lutheran churches came to the support of the German cause. Even the English language papers, though generally favorable to the Entente Allies, opened their columns in the interest of equal justice to the spokesmen for all the contending powers of Europe.

Before two weeks had elapsed the controversy had become so intense that President Wilson (August 18, 1914) was moved to caution his countrymen against falling into angry disputes. "Every man," he said, "who really loves America will act and speak in the true spirit of neutrality which is the spirit of impartiality and fairness and friendliness to all concerned.... We must be impartial in thought as well as in action, must put a curb upon our sentiments as well as upon every transaction that might be construed as a preference of one party to the struggle before another."

The Clash over American Trade.—As in the time of the Napoleonic wars, the conflict in Europe raised fundamental questions respecting rights of Americans trading with countries at peace as well as those at war. On this point there existed on August 1, 1914, a fairly definite body of principles by which nations were bound. Among them the following were of vital significance. In the first place, it was recognized that an enemy merchant ship caught on the high seas was a legitimate prize of war which might be seized and confiscated. In the second place, it was agreed that "contraband of war" found on an enemy or neutral ship was a lawful prize; any ship suspected of carrying it was liable to search and if caught with forbidden goods was subject to seizure. In the third place, international law prescribed that a peaceful merchant ship, whether belonging to an enemy or to a neutral country, should not be destroyed or sunk without provision for the safety of crew and passengers. In the fourth place, it was understood that a belligerent had the right, if it could, to blockade the ports of an enemy and prevent the ingress and egress of all ships; but such a blockade, to be lawful, had to be effective.

These general principles left undetermined two important matters: "What is an effective blockade?" and "What is contraband of war?" The task of answering these questions fell to Great Britain as mistress of the seas. Although the German submarines made it impossible for her battleships to maintain a continuous patrol of the waters in front of blockaded ports, she declared the blockade to be none the less "effective" because her navy was supreme. As to contraband of war Great Britain put such a broad interpretation upon the term as to include nearly every important article of commerce. Early in 1915 she declared even cargoes of grain and flour to be contraband, defending the action on the ground that the German government had recently taken possession of all domestic stocks of corn, wheat, and flour.

A new question arose in connection with American trade with the neutral countries surrounding Germany. Great Britain early began to intercept ships carrying oil, gasoline, and copper—all war materials of prime importance—on the ground that they either were destined ultimately to Germany or would release goods for sale to Germans. On November 2, 1914, the English government announced that the Germans wore sowing mines in open waters and that therefore the whole of the North Sea was a military zone. Ships bound for Denmark, Norway, and Sweden were ordered to come by the English Channel for inspection and sailing directions. In effect, Americans were now licensed by Great Britain to trade in certain commodities and in certain amounts with neutral countries.

Against these extraordinary measures, the State Department at Washington lodged pointed objections, saying: "This government is reluctantly forced to the conclusion that the present policy of His Majesty's government toward neutral ships and cargoes exceeds the manifest necessity of a belligerent and constitutes restrictions upon the rights of American citizens on the high seas, which are not justified by the rules of international law or required under the principle of self-preservation."

Germany Begins the Submarine Campaign.—Germany now announced that, on and after February 18, 1915, the whole of the English Channel and the waters around Great Britain would be deemed a war zone and that every enemy ship found therein would be destroyed. The German decree added that, as the British admiralty had ordered the use of neutral flags by English ships in time of distress, neutral vessels would be in danger of destruction if found in the forbidden area. It was clear that Germany intended to employ submarines to destroy shipping. A new factor was thus introduced into naval warfare, one not provided for in the accepted laws of war. A warship overhauling a merchant vessel could easily take its crew and passengers on board for safe keeping as prescribed by international law; but a submarine ordinarily could do nothing of the sort. Of necessity the lives and the ships of neutrals, as well as of belligerents, were put in mortal peril. This amazing conduct Germany justified on the ground that it was mere retaliation against Great Britain for her violations of international law.

The response of the United States to the ominous German order was swift and direct. On February 10, 1915, it warned Germany that if her commanders destroyed American lives and ships in obedience to that decree, the action would "be very hard indeed to reconcile with the friendly relations happily subsisting between the two governments." The American note added that the German imperial government would be held to "strict accountability" and all necessary steps would be taken to safeguard American lives and American rights. This was firm and clear language, but the only response which it evoked from Germany was a suggestion that, if Great Britain would allow food supplies to pass through the blockade, the submarine campaign would be dropped.

Violations of American Rights.—Meanwhile Germany continued to ravage shipping on the high seas. On January 28, a German raider sank the American ship, William P. Frye, in the South Atlantic; on March 28, a British ship, the Falaba, was sunk by a submarine and many on board, including an American citizen, were killed; and on April 28, a German airplane dropped bombs on the American steamer Cushing. On the morning of May 1, 1915, Americans were astounded to see in the newspapers an advertisement, signed by the German Imperial Embassy, warning travelers of the dangers in the war zone and notifying them that any who ventured on British ships into that area did so at their own risk. On that day, the Lusitania, a British steamer, sailed from New York for Liverpool. On May 7, without warning, the ship was struck by two torpedoes and in a few minutes went down by the bow, carrying to death 1153 persons including 114 American men, women, and children. A cry of horror ran through the country. The German papers in America and a few American people argued that American citizens had been duly warned of the danger and had deliberately taken their lives into their own hands; but the terrible deed was almost universally condemned by public opinion.

The Lusitania Notes.—On May 14, the Department of State at Washington made public the first of three famous notes on the Lusitania case. It solemnly informed the German government that "no warning that an unlawful and inhumane act will be committed can possibly be accepted as an excuse or palliation for that act or as an abatement of the responsibility for its commission." It called upon the German government to disavow the act, make reparation as far as possible, and take steps to prevent "the recurrence of anything so obviously subversive of the principles of warfare." The note closed with a clear caution to Germany that the government of the United States would not "omit any word or any act necessary to the performance of its sacred duty of maintaining the rights of the United States and its citizens and of safeguarding their free exercise and enjoyment." The die was cast; but Germany in reply merely temporized.

In a second note, made public on June 11, the position of the United States was again affirmed. William Jennings Bryan, the Secretary of State, had resigned because the drift of President Wilson's policy was not toward mediation but the strict maintenance of American rights, if need be, by force of arms. The German reply was still evasive and German naval commanders continued their course of sinking merchant ships. In a third and final note of July 21, 1915, President Wilson made it clear to Germany that he meant what he said when he wrote that he would maintain the rights of American citizens. Finally after much discussion and shifting about, the German ambassador on September 1, 1915, sent a brief note to the Secretary of State: "Liners will not be sunk by our submarines without warning and without safety of the lives of non-combatants, provided the liners do not try to escape or offer resistance." Editorially, the New York Times declared: "It is a triumph not only of diplomacy but of reason, of humanity, of justice, and of truth." The Secretary of State saw in it "a recognition of the fundamental principles for which we have contended."

The Presidential Election of 1916.—In the midst of this crisis came the presidential campaign. On the Republican side everything seemed to depend upon the action of the Progressives. If the breach created in 1912 could be closed, victory was possible; if not, defeat was certain. A promise of unity lay in the fact that the conventions of the Republicans and Progressives were held simultaneously in Chicago. The friends of Roosevelt hoped that both parties would select him as their candidate; but this hope was not realized. The Republicans chose, and the Progressives accepted, Charles E. Hughes, an associate justice of the federal Supreme Court who, as governor of New York, had won a national reputation by waging war on "machine politicians."

In the face of the clamor for expressions of sympathy with one or the other of the contending powers of Europe, the Republicans chose a middle course, declaring that they would uphold all American rights "at home and abroad, by land and by sea." This sentiment Mr. Hughes echoed in his acceptance speech. By some it was interpreted to mean a firmer policy in dealing with Great Britain; by others, a more vigorous handling of the submarine menace. The Democrats, on their side, renominated President Wilson by acclamation, reviewed with pride the legislative achievements of the party, and commended "the splendid diplomatic victories of our great President who has preserved the vital interests of our government and its citizens and kept us out of war."

In the election which ensued President Wilson's popular vote exceeded that cast for Mr. Hughes by more than half a million, while his electoral vote stood 277 to 254. The result was regarded, and not without warrant, as a great personal triumph for the President. He had received the largest vote yet cast for a presidential candidate. The Progressive party practically disappeared, and the Socialists suffered a severe set-back, falling far behind the vote of 1912.

President Wilson Urges Peace upon the Warring Nations.—Apparently convinced that his pacific policies had been profoundly approved by his countrymen, President Wilson, soon after the election, addressed "peace notes" to the European belligerents. On December 16, the German Emperor proposed to the Allied Powers that they enter into peace negotiations, a suggestion that was treated as a mere political maneuver by the opposing governments. Two days later President Wilson sent a note to the warring nations asking them to avow "the terms upon which war might be concluded." To these notes the Central Powers replied that they were ready to meet their antagonists in a peace conference; and Allied Powers answered by presenting certain conditions precedent to a satisfactory settlement. On January 22, 1917, President Wilson in an address before the Senate, declared it to be a duty of the United States to take part in the establishment of a stable peace on the basis of certain principles. These were, in short: "peace without victory"; the right of nationalities to freedom and self-government; the independence of Poland; freedom of the seas; the reduction of armaments; and the abolition of entangling alliances. The whole world was discussing the President's remarkable message, when it was dumbfounded to hear, on January 31, that the German ambassador at Washington had announced the official renewal of ruthless submarine warfare.

The United States at War[edit]

Steps toward War.—Three days after the receipt of the news that the German government intended to return to its former submarine policy, President Wilson severed diplomatic relations with the German empire. At the same time he explained to Congress that he desired no conflict with Germany and would await an "overt act" before taking further steps to preserve American rights. "God grant," he concluded, "that we may not be challenged to defend them by acts of willful injustice on the part of the government of Germany." Yet the challenge came. Between February 26 and April 2, six American merchant vessels were torpedoed, in most cases without any warning and without regard to the loss of American lives. President Wilson therefore called upon Congress to answer the German menace. The reply of Congress on April 6 was a resolution, passed with only a few dissenting votes, declaring the existence of a state of war with Germany. Austria-Hungary at once severed diplomatic relations with the United States; but it was not until December 7 that Congress, acting on the President's advice, declared war also on that "vassal of the German government."

American War Aims.—In many addresses at the beginning and during the course of the war, President Wilson stated the purposes which actuated our government in taking up arms. He first made it clear that it was a war of self-defense. "The military masters of Germany," he exclaimed, "denied us the right to be neutral." Proof of that lay on every hand. Agents of the German imperial government had destroyed American lives and American property on the high seas. They had filled our communities with spies. They had planted bombs in ships and munition works. They had fomented divisions among American citizens.

Though assailed in many ways and compelled to resort to war, the United States sought no material rewards. "The world must be made safe for democracy. Its peace must be planted upon the tested foundations of political liberty. We have no selfish ends to serve. We desire no conquest, no dominion. We seek no indemnities for ourselves."

In a very remarkable message read to Congress on January 8, 1918, President Wilson laid down his famous "fourteen points" summarizing the ideals for which we were fighting. They included open treaties of peace, openly arrived at; absolute freedom of navigation upon the seas; the removal, as far as possible, of trade barriers among nations; reduction of armaments; adjustment of colonial claims in the interest of the populations concerned; fair and friendly treatment of Russia; the restoration of Belgium; righting the wrong done to France in 1871 in the matter of Alsace-Lorraine; adjustment of Italian frontiers along the lines of nationality; more liberty for the peoples of Austria-Hungary; the restoration of Serbia and Rumania; the readjustment of the Turkish Empire; an independent Poland; and an association of nations to afford mutual guarantees to all states great and small. On a later occasion President Wilson elaborated the last point, namely, the formation of a league of nations to guarantee peace and establish justice among the powers of the world. Democracy, the right of nations to determine their own fate, a covenant of enduring peace—these were the ideals for which the American people were to pour out their blood and treasure.

The Selective Draft.—The World War became a war of nations. The powers against which we were arrayed had every able-bodied man in service and all their resources, human and material, thrown into the scale. For this reason, President Wilson summoned the whole people of the United States to make every sacrifice necessary for victory. Congress by law decreed that the national army should be chosen from all male citizens and males not enemy aliens who had declared their intention of becoming citizens. By the first act of May 18, 1917, it fixed the age limits at twenty-one to thirty-one inclusive. Later, in August, 1918, it extended them to eighteen and forty-five. From the men of the first group so enrolled were chosen by lot the soldiers for the World War who, with the regular army and the national guard, formed the American Expeditionary Force upholding the American cause on the battlefields of Europe. "The whole nation," said the President, "must be a team in which each man shall play the part for which he is best fitted."

Liberty Loans and Taxes.—In order that the military and naval forces should be stinted in no respect, the nation was called upon to place its financial resources at the service of the government. Some urged the "conscription of wealth as well as men," meaning the support of the war out of taxes upon great fortunes; but more conservative counsels prevailed. Four great Liberty Loans were floated, all the agencies of modern publicity being employed to enlist popular interest. The first loan had four and a half million subscribers; the fourth more than twenty million. Combined with loans were heavy taxes. A progressive tax was laid upon incomes beginning with four per cent on incomes in the lower ranges and rising to sixty-three per cent of that part of any income above $2,000,000. A progressive tax was levied upon inheritances. An excess profits tax was laid upon all corporations and partnerships, rising in amount to sixty per cent of the net income in excess of thirty-three per cent on the invested capital. "This," said a distinguished economist, "is the high-water mark in the history of taxation. Never before in the annals of civilization has an attempt been made to take as much as two-thirds of a man's income by taxation."

Mobilizing Material Resources.—No stone was left unturned to provide the arms, munitions, supplies, and transportation required in the gigantic undertaking. Between the declaration of war and the armistice, Congress enacted law after law relative to food supplies, raw materials, railways, mines, ships, forests, and industrial enterprises. No power over the lives and property of citizens, deemed necessary to the prosecution of the armed conflict, was withheld from the government. The farmer's wheat, the housewife's sugar, coal at the mines, labor in the factories, ships at the wharves, trade with friendly countries, the railways, banks, stores, private fortunes—all were mobilized and laid under whatever obligations the government deemed imperative. Never was a nation more completely devoted to a single cause.

A law of August 10, 1917, gave the President power to fix the prices of wheat and coal and to take almost any steps necessary to prevent monopoly and excessive prices. By a series of measures, enlarging the principles of the shipping act of 1916, ships and shipyards were brought under public control and the government was empowered to embark upon a great ship-building program. In December, 1917, the government assumed for the period of the war the operation of the railways under a presidential proclamation which was elaborated in March, 1918, by act of Congress. In the summer of 1918 the express, telephone, and telegraph business of the entire country passed under government control. By war risk insurance acts allowances were made for the families of enlisted men, compensation for injuries was provided, death benefits were instituted, and a system of national insurance was established in the interest of the men in service. Never before in the history of the country had the government taken such a wise and humane view of its obligations to those who served on the field of battle or on the seas.

The Espionage and Sedition Acts.—By the Espionage law of June 15, 1917, and the amending law, known as the Sedition act, passed in May of the following year, the government was given a drastic power over the expression of opinion. The first measure penalized those who conveyed information to a foreign country to be used to the injury of the United States; those who made false statements designed to interfere with the military or naval forces of the United States; those who attempted to stir up insubordination or disloyalty in the army and navy; and those who willfully obstructed enlistment. The Sedition act was still more severe and sweeping in its terms. It imposed heavy penalties upon any person who used "abusive language about the government or institutions of the country." It authorized the dismissal of any officer of the government who committed "disloyal acts" or uttered "disloyal language," and empowered the Postmaster General to close the mails to persons violating the law. This measure, prepared by the Department of Justice, encountered vigorous opposition in the Senate, where twenty-four Republicans and two Democrats voted against it. Senator Johnson of California denounced it as a law "to suppress the freedom of the press in the United States and to prevent any man, no matter who he is, from expressing legitimate criticism concerning the present government." The constitutionality of the acts was attacked; but they were sustained by the Supreme Court and stringently enforced.

The Launching of a Ship at the Great Naval Yards, Newark, N.J.
Copyright by Underwood and Underwood, N.Y. The Launching of a Ship at the Great Naval Yards, Newark, N.J.

Labor and the War.—In view of the restlessness of European labor during the war and especially the proletarian revolution in Russia in November, 1917, some anxiety was early expressed as to the stand which organized labor might take in the United States. It was, however, soon dispelled. Samuel Gompers, speaking for the American Federation of Labor, declared that "this is labor's war," and pledged the united support of all the unions. There was some dissent. The Socialist party denounced the war as a capitalist quarrel; but all the protests combined were too slight to have much effect. American labor leaders were sent to Europe to strengthen the wavering ranks of trade unionists in war-worn England, France, and Italy. Labor was given representation on the important boards and commissions dealing with industrial questions. Trade union standards were accepted by the government and generally applied in industry. The Department of Labor became one of the powerful war centers of the nation. In a memorable address to the American Federation of Labor, President Wilson assured the trade unionists that labor conditions should not be made unduly onerous by the war and received in return a pledge of loyalty from the Federation. Recognition of labor's contribution to winning the war was embodied in the treaty of peace, which provided for a permanent international organization to promote the world-wide effort of labor to improve social conditions. "The league of nations has for its object the establishment of universal peace," runs the preamble to the labor section of the treaty, "and such a peace can be established only if it is based upon social justice.... The failure of any nation to adopt humane conditions of labor is an obstacle in the way of other nations which desire to improve the conditions in their own countries."

The American Navy in the War.—As soon as Congress declared war the fleet was mobilized, American ports were thrown open to the warships of the Allies, immediate provision was made for increasing the number of men and ships, and a contingent of war vessels was sent to coöperate with the British and French in their life-and-death contest with submarines. Special effort was made to stimulate the production of "submarine chasers" and "scout cruisers" to be sent to the danger zone. Convoys were provided to accompany the transports conveying soldiers to France. Before the end of the war more than three hundred American vessels and 75,000 officers and men were operating in European waters. Though the German fleet failed to come out and challenge the sea power of the Allies, the battleships of the United States were always ready to do their full duty in such an event. As things turned out, the service of the American navy was limited mainly to helping in the campaign that wore down the submarine menace to Allied shipping.

The War in France.—Owing to the peculiar character of the warfare in France, it required a longer time for American military forces to get into action; but there was no unnecessary delay. Soon after the declaration of war, steps were taken to give military assistance to the Allies. The regular army was enlarged and the troops of the national guard were brought into national service. On June 13, General John J. Pershing, chosen head of the American Expeditionary Forces, reached Paris and began preparations for the arrival of our troops. In June, the vanguard of the army reached France. A slow and steady stream followed. As soon as the men enrolled under the draft were ready, it became a flood. During the period of the war the army was enlarged from about 190,000 men to 3,665,000, of whom more than 2,000,000 were in France when the armistice was signed.

Although American troops did not take part on a large scale until the last phase of the war in 1918, several battalions of infantry were in the trenches by October, 1917, and had their first severe encounter with the Germans early in November. In January, 1918, they took over a part of the front line as an American sector. In March, General Pershing placed our forces at the disposal of General Foch, commander-in-chief of the Allied armies. The first division, which entered the Montdidier salient in April, soon was engaged with the enemy, "taking with splendid dash the town of Cantigny and all other objectives, which were organized and held steadfastly against vicious counter attacks and galling artillery fire."

Troops Returning from France
Copyright by Underwood and Underwood, N.Y. Troops Returning from France

When the Germans launched their grand drives toward the Marne and Paris, in June and July, 1918, every available man was placed at General Foch's command. At Belleau Wood, at Château-Thierry, and other points along the deep salient made by the Germans into the French lines, American soldiers distinguished themselves by heroic action. They also played an important rôle in the counter attack that "smashed" the salient and drove the Germans back.

In September, American troops, with French aid, "wiped out" the German salient at St. Mihiel. By this time General Pershing was ready for the great American drive to the northeast in the Argonne forest, while he also coöperated with the British in the assault on the Hindenburg line. In the Meuse-Argonne battle, our soldiers encountered some of the most severe fighting of the war and pressed forward steadily against the most stubborn resistance from the enemy. On the 6th of November, reported General Pershing, "a division of the first corps reached a point on the Meuse opposite Sedan, twenty-five miles from our line of departure. The strategical goal which was our highest hope was gained. We had cut the enemy's main line of communications and nothing but a surrender or an armistice could save his army from complete disaster." Five days later the end came. On the morning of November 11, the order to cease firing went into effect. The German army was in rapid retreat and demoralization had begun. The Kaiser had abdicated and fled into Holland. The Hohenzollern dreams of empire were shattered. In the fifty-second month, the World War, involving nearly every civilized nation on the globe, was brought to a close. More than 75,000 American soldiers and sailors had given their lives. More than 250,000 had been wounded or were missing or in German prison camps.

Western Battle Lines of the Various Years of the World War
Western Battle Lines of the Various Years of the World War

The Settlement at Paris

The Peace Conference.—On January 18, 1919, a conference of the Allied and Associated Powers assembled to pronounce judgment upon the German empire and its defeated satellites: Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, and Turkey. It was a moving spectacle. Seventy-two delegates spoke for thirty-two states. The United States, Great Britain, France, Italy, and Japan had five delegates each. Belgium, Brazil, and Serbia were each assigned three. Canada, Australia, South Africa, India, China, Greece, Hedjaz, Poland, Portugal, Rumania, Siam, and Czechoslovakia were allotted two apiece. The remaining states of New Zealand, Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Liberia, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, and Uruguay each had one delegate. President Wilson spoke in person for the United States. England, France, and Italy were represented by their premiers: David Lloyd George, Georges Clémenceau, and Vittorio Orlando.

Premiers Lloyd George, Orlando and Clémenceau and President Wilson at Paris
Premiers Lloyd George, Orlando and Clémenceau and President Wilson at Paris

The Supreme Council.—The real work of the settlement was first committed to a Supreme Council of ten representing the United States, Great Britain, France, Italy, and Japan. This was later reduced to five members. Then Japan dropped out and finally Italy, leaving only President Wilson and the Premiers, Lloyd George and Clémenceau, the "Big Three," who assumed the burden of mighty decisions. On May 6, their work was completed and in a secret session of the full conference the whole treaty of peace was approved, though a few of the powers made reservations or objections. The next day the treaty was presented to the Germans who, after prolonged protests, signed on the last day of grace, June 28. This German treaty was followed by agreements with Austria, Hungary, Bulgaria, and Turkey. Collectively these great documents formed the legal basis of the general European settlement.

The Terms of the Settlement.—The combined treaties make a huge volume. The German treaty alone embraces about 80,000 words. Collectively they cover an immense range of subjects which may be summarized under five heads: (1) The territorial settlement in Europe; (2) the destruction of German military power; (3) reparations for damages done by Germany and her allies; (4) the disposition of German colonies and protectorates; and (5) the League of Nations.

Germany was reduced by the cession of Alsace-Lorraine to France and the loss of several other provinces. Austria-Hungary was dissolved and dismembered. Russia was reduced by the creation of new states on the west. Bulgaria was stripped of her gains in the recent Balkan wars. Turkey was dismembered. Nine new independent states were created: Poland, Finland, Lithuania, Latvia, Esthonia, Ukraine, Czechoslovakia, Armenia, and Hedjaz. Italy, Greece, Rumania, and Serbia were enlarged by cessions of territory and Serbia was transformed into the great state of Jugoslavia.

The destruction of German military power was thorough. The entire navy, with minor exceptions, was turned over to the Allied and Associated Powers; Germany's total equipment for the future was limited to six battleships and six light cruisers, with certain small vessels but no submarines. The number of enlisted men and officers for the army was fixed at not more than 100,000; the General Staff was dissolved; and the manufacture of munitions restricted.

Germany was compelled to accept full responsibility for all damages; to pay five billion dollars in cash and goods, and to make certain other payments which might be ordered from time to time by an inter-allied reparations commission. She was also required to deliver to Belgium, France, and Italy, millions of tons of coal every year for ten years; while by way of additional compensation to France the rich coal basin of the Saar was placed under inter-allied control to be exploited under French administration for a period of at least fifteen years. Austria and the other associates of Germany were also laid under heavy obligations to the victors. Damages done to shipping by submarines and other vessels were to be paid for on the basis of ton for ton.

The disposition of the German colonies and the old Ottoman empire presented knotty problems. It was finally agreed that the German colonies and Turkish provinces which were in a backward stage of development should be placed under the tutelage of certain powers acting as "mandatories" holding them in "a sacred trust of civilization." An exception to the mandatory principle arose in the case of German rights in Shantung, all of which were transferred directly to Japan. It was this arrangement that led the Chinese delegation to withhold their signatures from the treaty.

The League of Nations.—High among the purposes which he had in mind in summoning the nation to arms, President Wilson placed the desire to put an end to war. All through the United States the people spoke of the "war to end war." No slogan called forth a deeper response from the public. The President himself repeatedly declared that a general association of nations must be formed to guard the peace and protect all against the ambitions of the few. "As I see it," he said in his address on opening the Fourth Liberty Loan campaign, "the constitution of the League of Nations and the clear definition of its objects must be a part, in a sense the most essential part, of the peace settlement itself."

Nothing was more natural, therefore, than Wilson's insistence at Paris upon the formation of an international association. Indeed he had gone to Europe in person largely to accomplish that end. Part One of the treaty with Germany, the Covenant of the League of Nations, was due to his labors more than to any other influence. Within the League thus created were to be embraced all the Allied and Associated Powers and nearly all the neutrals. By a two-thirds vote of the League Assembly the excluded nations might be admitted.

The agencies of the League of Nations were to be three in number: (1) a permanent secretariat located at Geneva; (2) an Assembly consisting of one delegate from each country, dominion, or self-governing colony (including Canada, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, and India); (3) and a Council consisting of representatives of the United States, Great Britain, France, Italy, and Japan, and four other representatives selected by the Assembly from time to time.

The duties imposed on the League and the obligations accepted by its members were numerous and important. The Council was to take steps to formulate a scheme for the reduction of armaments and to submit a plan for the establishment of a permanent Court of International Justice. The members of the League (Article X) were to respect and preserve as against external aggression the territorial integrity and existing political independence of all the associated nations. They were to submit to arbitration or inquiry by the Council all disputes which could not be adjusted by diplomacy and in no case to resort to war until three months after the award. Should any member disregard its covenants, its action would be considered an act of war against the League, which would accordingly cut off the trade and business of the hostile member and recommend through the Council to the several associated governments the military measures to be taken. In case the decision in any arbitration of a dispute was unanimous, the members of the League affected by it were to abide by it.

Such was the settlement at Paris and such was the association of nations formed to promote the peace of the world. They were quickly approved by most of the powers, and the first Assembly of the League of Nations met at Geneva late in 1920.

The Treaty in the United States.—When the treaty was presented to the United States Senate for approval, a violent opposition appeared. In that chamber the Republicans had a slight majority and a two-thirds vote was necessary for ratification. The sentiment for and against the treaty ran mainly along party lines; but the Republicans were themselves divided. The major portion, known as "reservationists," favored ratification with certain conditions respecting American rights; while a small though active minority rejected the League of Nations in its entirety, announcing themselves to be "irreconcilables." The grounds of this Republican opposition lay partly in the terms of peace imposed on Germany and partly in the Covenant of the League of Nations. Exception was taken to the clauses which affected the rights of American citizens in property involved in the adjustment with Germany, but the burden of criticism was directed against the League. Article X guaranteeing against external aggression the political independence and territorial integrity of the members of the League was subjected to a specially heavy fire; while the treatment accorded to China and the sections affecting American internal affairs were likewise attacked as "unjust and dangerous." As an outcome of their deliberations, the Republicans proposed a long list of reservations which touched upon many of the vital parts of the treaty. These were rejected by President Wilson as amounting in effect to a "nullification of the treaty." As a deadlock ensued the treaty was definitely rejected, owing to the failure of its sponsors to secure the requisite two-thirds vote.

Europe

The League of Nations in the Campaign of 1920.—At this juncture the presidential campaign of 1920 opened. The Republicans, while condemning the terms of the proposed League, endorsed the general idea of an international agreement to prevent war. Their candidate, Senator Warren G. Harding of Ohio, maintained a similar position without saying definitely whether the League devised at Paris could be recast in such a manner as to meet his requirements. The Democrats, on the other hand, while not opposing limitations clarifying the obligations of the United States, demanded "the immediate ratification of the treaty without reservations which would impair its essential integrity." The Democratic candidate, Governor James M. Cox, of Ohio, announced his firm conviction that the United States should "go into the League," without closing the door to mild reservations; he appealed to the country largely on that issue. The election of Senator Harding, in an extraordinary "landslide," coupled with the return of a majority of Republicans to the Senate, made uncertain American participation in the League of Nations.

The United States and International Entanglements.—Whether America entered the League or not, it could not close its doors to the world and escape perplexing international complications. It had ever-increasing financial and commercial connections with all other countries. Our associates in the recent war were heavily indebted to our government. The prosperity of American industries depended to a considerable extent upon the recovery of the impoverished and battle-torn countries of Europe.

There were other complications no less specific. The United States was compelled by force of circumstances to adopt a Russian policy. The government of the Czar had been overthrown by a liberal revolution, which in turn had been succeeded by an extreme, communist "dictatorship." The Bolsheviki, or majority faction of the socialists, had obtained control of the national council of peasants, workingmen, and soldiers, called the soviet, and inaugurated a radical régime. They had made peace with Germany in March, 1918. Thereupon the United States joined England, France, and Japan in an unofficial war upon them. After the general settlement at Paris in 1919, our government, while withdrawing troops from Siberia and Archangel, continued in its refusal to recognize the Bolshevists or to permit unhampered trade with them. President Wilson repeatedly denounced them as the enemies of civilization and undertook to lay down for all countries the principles which should govern intercourse with Russia.

Further international complications were created in connection with the World War, wholly apart from the terms of peace or the League of Nations. The United States had participated in a general European conflict which changed the boundaries of countries, called into being new nations, and reduced the power and territories of the vanquished. Accordingly, it was bound to face the problem of how far it was prepared to coöperate with the victors in any settlement of Europe's difficulties. By no conceivable process, therefore, could America be disentangled from the web of world affairs. Isolation, if desirable, had become impossible. Within three hundred years from the founding of the tiny settlements at Jamestown and Plymouth, America, by virtue of its institutions, its population, its wealth, and its commerce, had become first among the nations of the earth. By moral obligations and by practical interests its fate was thus linked with the destiny of all mankind.

Summary of Democracy and the World War[edit]

The astounding industrial progress that characterized the period following the Civil War bequeathed to the new generation many perplexing problems connected with the growth of trusts and railways, the accumulation of great fortunes, the increase of poverty in the industrial cities, the exhaustion of the free land, and the acquisition of dominions in distant seas. As long as there was an abundance of land in the West any able-bodied man with initiative and industry could become an independent farmer. People from the cities and immigrants from Europe had always before them that gateway to property and prosperity. When the land was all gone, American economic conditions inevitably became more like those of Europe.

Though the new economic questions had been vigorously debated in many circles before his day, it was President Roosevelt who first discussed them continuously from the White House. The natural resources of the country were being exhausted; he advocated their conservation. Huge fortunes were being made in business creating inequalities in opportunity; he favored reducing them by income and inheritance taxes. Industries were disturbed by strikes; he pressed arbitration upon capital and labor. The free land was gone; he declared that labor was in a less favorable position to bargain with capital and therefore should organize in unions for collective bargaining. There had been wrong-doing on the part of certain great trusts; those responsible should be punished.

The spirit of reform was abroad in the land. The spoils system was attacked. It was alleged that the political parties were dominated by "rings and bosses." The United States Senate was called "a millionaires' club." Poverty and misery were observed in the cities. State legislatures and city governments were accused of corruption.

In answer to the charges, remedies were proposed and adopted. Civil service reform was approved. The Australian ballot, popular election of Senators, the initiative, referendum, and recall, commission and city manager plans for cities, public regulation of railways, compensation for those injured in industries, minimum wages for women and children, pensions for widows, the control of housing in the cities—these and a hundred other reforms were adopted and tried out. The national watchword became: "America, Improve Thyself."

The spirit of reform broke into both political parties. It appeared in many statutes enacted by Congress under President Taft's leadership. It disrupted the Republicans temporarily in 1912 when the Progressive party entered the field. It led the Democratic candidate in that year, Governor Wilson, to make a "progressive appeal" to the voters. It inspired a considerable program of national legislation under President Wilson's two administrations.

In the age of change, four important amendments to the federal constitution, the first in more than forty years, were adopted. The sixteenth empowered Congress to lay an income tax. The seventeenth assured popular election of Senators. The eighteenth made prohibition national. The nineteenth, following upon the adoption of woman suffrage in many states, enfranchised the women of the nation.

In the sphere of industry, equally great changes took place. The major portion of the nation's business passed into the hands of corporations. In all the leading industries of the country labor was organized into trade unions and federated in a national organization. The power of organized capital and organized labor loomed upon the horizon. Their struggles, their rights, and their place in the economy of the nation raised problems of the first magnitude.

While the country was engaged in a heated debate upon its domestic issues, the World War broke out in Europe in 1914. As a hundred years before, American rights upon the high seas became involved at once. They were invaded on both sides; but Germany, in addition to assailing American ships and property, ruthlessly destroyed American lives. She set at naught the rules of civilized warfare upon the sea. Warnings from President Wilson were without avail. Nothing could stay the hand of the German war party.

After long and patient negotiations, President Wilson in 1917 called upon the nation to take up arms against an assailant that had in effect declared war upon America. The answer was swift and firm. The national resources, human and material, were mobilized. The navy was enlarged, a draft army created, huge loans floated, heavy taxes laid, and the spirit of sacrifice called forth in a titanic struggle against an autocratic power that threatened to dominate Europe and the World.

In the end, American financial, naval, and military assistance counted heavily in the scale. American sailors scoured the seas searching for the terrible submarines. American soldiers took part in the last great drives that broke the might of Germany's army. Such was the nation's response to the President's summons to arms in a war "for democracy" and "to end war."

When victory crowned the arms of the powers united against Germany, President Wilson in person took part in the peace council. He sought to redeem his pledge to end wars by forming a League of Nations to keep the peace. In the treaty drawn at the close of the war the first part was a covenant binding the nations in a permanent association for the settlement of international disputes. This treaty, the President offered to the United States Senate for ratification and to his country for approval.

Once again, as in the days of the Napoleonic wars, the people seriously discussed the place of America among the powers of the earth. The Senate refused to ratify the treaty. World politics then became an issue in the campaign of 1920. Though some Americans talked as if the United States could close its doors and windows against all mankind, the victor in the election, Senator Harding, of Ohio, knew better. The election returns were hardly announced before he began to ask the advice of his countrymen on the pressing theme that would not be downed: "What part shall America—first among the nations of the earth in wealth and power—assume at the council table of the world?"

General References

Woodrow Wilson, The New Freedom.

C.L. Jones, The Caribbean Interests of the United States.

H.P. Willis, The Federal Reserve.

C.W. Barron, The Mexican Problem (critical toward Mexico).

L.J. de Bekker, The Plot against Mexico (against American intervention).

Theodore Roosevelt, America and the World War.

E.E. Robinson and V.J. West, The Foreign Policy of Woodrow Wilson.

J.S. Bassett, Our War with Germany.

Carlton J.H. Hayes, A Brief History of the Great War.

J.B. McMaster, The United States in the World War.

Research Topics[edit]

President Wilson's First Term.—Elson, History of the United States, pp. 925-941.

The Underwood Tariff Act.—Ogg, National Progress (The American Nation Series), pp. 209-226.

The Federal Reserve System.—Ogg, pp. 228-232.

Trust and Labor Legislation.—Ogg, pp. 232-236.

Legislation Respecting the Territories.—Ogg, pp. 236-245.

American Interests in the Caribbean.—Ogg, pp. 246-265.

American Interests in the Pacific.—Ogg, pp. 304-324.

Mexican Affairs.—Haworth, pp. 388-395; Ogg, pp. 284-304.

The First Phases of the European War.—Haworth, pp. 395-412; Ogg, pp. 325-343.

The Campaign of 1916.—Haworth, pp. 412-418; Ogg, pp. 364-383.

America Enters the War.—Haworth, pp. 422-440; pp. 454-475. Ogg, pp. 384-399; Elson, pp. 951-970.

Mobilizing the Nation.—Haworth, pp. 441-453.

The Peace Settlement.—Haworth, pp. 475-497; Elson, pp. 971-982.

Questions[edit]

1. Enumerate the chief financial measures of the Wilson administration. Review the history of banks and currency and give the details of the Federal reserve law.

2. What was the Wilson policy toward trusts? Toward labor?

3. Review again the theory of states' rights. How has it fared in recent years?

4. What steps were taken in colonial policies? In the Caribbean?

5. Outline American-Mexican relations under Wilson.

6. How did the World War break out in Europe?

7. Account for the divided state of opinion in America.

8. Review the events leading up to the War of 1812. Compare them with the events from 1914 to 1917.

9. State the leading principles of international law involved and show how they were violated.

10. What American rights were assailed in the submarine campaign?

11. Give Wilson's position on the Lusitania affair.

12. How did the World War affect the presidential campaign of 1916?

13. How did Germany finally drive the United States into war?

14. State the American war aims given by the President.

15. Enumerate the measures taken by the government to win the war.

16. Review the part of the navy in the war. The army.

17. How were the terms of peace formulated?

18. Enumerate the principal results of the war.

19. Describe the League of Nations.

20. Trace the fate of the treaty in American politics.

21. Can there be a policy of isolation for America?