Woodrow Wilson and American Diplomacy

Topics: Woodrow Wilson, World War I, Treaty of Versailles Pages: 5 (1656 words) Published: October 11, 2011
American diplomacy has had many influences over the years. One of the most significant in history was that of Woodrow Wilson, the twenty-eighth President of the United States, who began spreading the principles of American diplomacy in the twentieth century. Until the early part of the twentieth century American foreign policy consisted mainly of isolationist tendencies. However, two factors quickly pushed America into foreign affairs. America was rapidly expanding its power and the international system centered on Europe began to crash. Until Wilson became president American foreign policy was aimed at fulfilling manifest destiny and to staying free of problems abroad. American diplomacy reflected Wilson’s Basic view of world power by helping spread democratic structure to other nations. It wasn’t perfect though and thus rejected his views of some post WWI thoughts such as the League of Nations.

Woodrow Wilson, born Dec 28, 1856, served as President of Princeton University and then became Governor of New Jersey in 1910. He was elected president in 1912 as a democrat when Taft and Roosevelt divided up the republican vote. In the first few years as president Wilson concentrated on anti-trust measures and reorganizing the federal banking system. After being narrowly re-elected Wilson concentrated on World War I. He tried to sustain US neutrality but failed and later asked Congress to declare war. Wilson also played a major role in the post-war period attempting to create the League of Nations and such. President Wilson’s views on foreign policy have been seen as great by some and horrible by others. Wilson fought hard to help spread democracy and in some cases succeeded.

Wilson introduced the term “moral diplomacy” to the West which attempted to spread influence and control foreign nations by using economic power. This didn’t always work as planned especially when things got tough and “moral diplomacy” alone wasn’t enough to fight off problems. The United Sates often had to use armed confrontation to solve problems. Wilson felt he was inspired to better promote the peace and well-being of other countries better than the leaders themselves. Wilson’s goals were to condemn imperialism, spread democracy, and promote peace. Coming to the presidency Wilson knew little about foreign affairs, but from the begging had to deal with domestic and foreign policy changes. Wilson’s own religious and ethical beliefs also greatly influence his decision making. Wilson believed that nations should listen to high ethical and moral standards. He was quickly presented with an opportunity to intervene in Latin America. Wilson stated his commitment to democracy and said that all governments would need to be constitutionally legitimate.

Prior to Woodrow Wilson President Theodore Roosevelt started bringing the United Sates out of its isolationist tendencies. According to Roosevelt there were three great and wealthy powers of which one was the United States. Roosevelt kept emphasizing preparedness and righteousness and often found it necessary to use military force in Latin America to restore order to the countries and to keep the United States the only nation in the region. President Roosevelt also set up the building of the Panama Canal and helped Panama gain independence from Columbia. What Roosevelt began Woodrow Wilson expanded. Wilson was driven by ambition thinking he was a messiah of sorts that came to save the world.

At the outbreak of WWI President Wilson declared a policy of neutrality. He was trying to keep everyone in the country happy since people had strong ties to both sides. Some groups said we should consider keeping our isolationist policy for a longer period of time. Others however argued to increase the size of the armed forces in case of war. Once the Germans started attacking US interests such as the Lusitania for no reason Wilson decided to increase the size of the armed forces. The 1916...
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