Woodrow Wilson's War Message

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Kylie Best
Michael G. Kelley
HIST 1302
24 Sept 2012

Woodrow Wilson’s War Address

Woodrow Wilson was a man of neutrality when World War I first broke out, despite of the pressure America was under to join the war. Wilson’s fight for neutrality during German submarine attacks on ships slowly deteriorated when finally he came to believe that war was a necessary action to defend America and it’s people.

After a German attack that sank the American ship Lusitania, despite Americans outrage, Wilson said, “ There is such a thing as a man being too proud to fight. There is such a thing as a nation being right that it does not need to convince other by force that it is right.” ( Wilson; Tindall and Shi, Ch. 25) Woodrow Wilson urged for neutrality, but all the while the United States was preparing for their involvement in the war by strengthening its Navy. In the election of 1916, the Democratic Party chose Wilson as their nominee, the Democrat’s main argument was that Wilson had kept America out of war, and would continue to keep them out of the war. In the end, it was this promise to keep out of the war that won the election for Wilson.

While America still continued to express neutrality, that did not stop Wilson from trying to end the war with his peace plan. Despite his best efforts, the United States ended up in war with Germany. In his war message to Congress Wilson stated, “The wrongs against which we now array ourselves are no common wrongs; they cut to the very roots of human life.” Wilson had fought for neutrality and peace throughout his first term and although it was hard for him to make a declaration of war, he believed that when it came to protecting lives, especially those of the United States, going to war was a necessary action. “With a solemn and even tragical character of the step I am taking and of the grave responsibilities it involves, but in unhesitating obedience to what I deem myself constitutional duty…” Woodrow Wilson wanted...
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