The Brief American Pageant ,
| Suggested Lecture Topics|
Developing The Chapter: Suggested Lecture Or Discussion Topics
- Explain the importance of Wilson's definition of war aims. Show why his sweeping declaration of the Fourteen Points stirred tremendous enthusiasm in both America and Europe, where seemingly meaningless slaughter had dragged on for years.
REFERENCE: Thomas Knock, To End All Wars: Woodrow Wilson and the Quest for a New World Order (1992).
- Analyze America's "voluntary" method of organizing for war (as opposed to the governmental coercion of European wartime regimes). Show how the feverish propaganda necessary for this approach caused war opponents to be treated as traitors.
REFERENCE: David M. Kennedy, Over Here: The First World War and American Society (1980).
- Examine Wilson's negotiations at Paris. Point out how his own high idealism forced him onto the defensive, since every practical compromise appeared to be a betrayal, and how he came to focus all his hopes on the League.
REFERENCE: Arthur Link, Woodrow Wilson: War, Revolution, and Peace (1979).
- Explain the defeat of the League and the treaty. Consider the way Lodge effectively exploited Wilson's weaknesses, especially his unwillingness to compromise what he saw as absolute principles.
REFERENCES: Thomas Bailey, Woodrow Wilson and the Lost Peace (1944); Robert H. Ferrell, Woodrow Wilson and World War I (1985).