Primary Source Analysis: Woodrow Wilson’s Fourteen Points
The source is a speech delivered by Woodrow Wilson on January 8th 1918; the speech was delivered among Woodrow’s fellow congressmen in the American congress. However, the speech was not written purely by Wilson, During World War I, Walter Lippmann became an adviser to President Woodrow Wilson and assisted in the drafting of the speech. The several points covered in Wilson’s speech aimed to resolve territorial issues in Europe, as well as improving post-war American diplomacy. To achieve this Wilson supported the League of Nations which was set up following the end of war. The speech therefore was not focused purely for American congress, but instead the International stage. The American congress would be more experienced politically; therefore the direct audience of Wilson’s speech is the congress. However, Wilson was fully aware that his speech would become part of public knowledge; the speech would not only be listened to in America, but also those countries affected by WW1. Wilson’s fourteen points was a reflection of his ideas and was used to input his views within the Big Three, Clemenceau and Lloyd-George. The fourteen points eventually established the League of Nations; therefore this suggests that the audience of the speech was to the international arena. Wilson recognised that there was opposition within congress towards a supranational organisation; therefore he aimed to persuade the congress the advantages of such organisation. This is shown later on when the USA under Harding did not join the League of Nations. Wilson’s speech was unprecedented in terms of that it was strongly liberal, and it aimed to join nations through liberal ideology. This is different to how countries, including the USA normally ran as they were more interested in their own achievements rather than the world arena collectively. It is also important to put emphasis on the fact that the USA were the ones hoping for a...
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