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31 Dec 2010
1. The Fourteen Points by Woodrow Wilson
born just before the American Civil War and dying just after WWI, Woodrow Wilson (1856 – 1924), was a noted historian, a scholar of
government systems, a governor of New Jersey, and a President of Princeton University before being elected President of the US in 1913
US’ involvement in WWI marked his second term in office (1917 – 1921); although Wilson had initially attempted to avoid involvement
in what he saw as a European war, he eventually came to see the war as a threat to humanity and to civilization
Wilson also devised a postwar plan, enunciated in his famous “Fourteen Points” speech given before Congress in 1918
Fourteen Points, intended to facilitate the reconstruction of Europe after the war, contained suggestions that were both general (freedom
of the seas, for example, or the right to self-determination) and specific (Belgian sovereignty)
the Points also made explicit recommendations regarding the boundaries of newly created countries—countries that were crafted around
recently recognized ethnic and national boundaries
above all, Wilson’s Fourteen Points were idealistic, expressing vision for peace that appealed to world torn by long and destructive war
the last and most important Point, the formation of a “general association of nations” led to the founding of the League of Nations, a body
intended to prevent further wars
although Points guided Versailles Treaty, Congress never ratified treaty or joined League, rendering many of Wilson’s points ineffectual
concept of League of Nations, however, survived and helped inspire the founding of the United Nations after WWII
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