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The Brief American Pageant , Sixth Edition
David M. Kennedy, Stanford University
Lizabeth Cohen, Harvard University
Thomas A. Bailey
Mel Piehl, Valparaiso University
Suggested Lecture Topics
Chapter 30
Developing The Chapter: Suggested Lecture Or Discussion Topics


  • Examine Wilson's complex personality and explain how it influenced both his great successes and his failures in politics.

    REFERENCE: August Mecksher, Woodrow Wilson (1991).

  • Examine Wilson's idealistic approach to both domestic and foreign policy. Show how he used his eloquence and moral appeals to arouse the public and achieve his goals at home, and explain why this approach was not as successful abroad.

    REFERENCE: John Morton Blum, Woodrow Wilson and the Politics of Morality (1956).

  • Consider how Wilson's attempt to promote American-style democracy in Mexico led him into military intervention and near-war. The focus might be on the difficulties even well-intentioned policies encountered in the face of a revolutionary upheaval such as Mexico was experiencing.

    REFERENCE: P. Edward Haley, Revolution and Intervention: The Diplomacy of Taft and Wilson with Mexico, 1910-1917 (1970).

  • Analyze why Wilson found himself headed to the brink of war with Germany over the submarine. Show how America's traditions, geography, and interests tended to create sympathy for the Allies, while the "barbarous" new weapon struck directly at Wilson's moral approach to foreign policy.

    REFERENCE: John M. Cooper, Jr., The Vanity of Power: American Isolation and the First World War, 1914-1917 (1969).



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