Senate Rejects the League of Nations

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In 1919, President Wilson joined delegates of Italy, France, England, and Japan in the Palace of Versailles to negotiate peace. When the conference was adjourned, the Treaty of Versailles had been created. However, the treaty was killed by Congress. It was not the strength of the opposing forces' argument, but rather the incompetence, rigidity, and obstinacy of President Wilson that lead to the Senate defeat of the Treaty of Versailles. Wilson's first mistake was in October 1918 when he asked the American people to vote Democratic as an act of patriotism and loyalty. His strategy backfired, and Republicans won majority in the House and in the Senate. The President also formed a delegation of all Democrats and just one Republican for the peace conference in Versailles. Wilson needed the support of the Republican party in the Senate in order to ratify the Treaty. Republican senators, including leading Senate Republican, Henry Cabot Lodge, signed a letter rejecting the League of Nations created in the Treaty in its current form. The Senate then revised the treaty, proposing that the U.S. enter no war to defend another member of the League unless approved by Congress. President Wilson rejected this revision, carrying an "all-or-nothing" attitude. Had Wilson accepted the revised Treaty, it would have been ratified, causing the U.S. to join the League. President Wilson's third mistake was his western speaking tour. In twenty-two days he covered 9,000 miles, and delivered thirty-seven speeches in defense of the League. He collapsed in Colorado after a speech, and was rushed back to Washington where he suffered a massive stroke, one from which he never fully recovered. Wilson was confined to his bed or wheelchair for the rest of his term. This caused many of his supporters to join the reservationist Republicans in voting for the treaty with reservations. It wasn't the power of the Republican party that ultimately led to the defeat of the Treaty...
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