President Wilson signed the Treaty of Versailles at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919. Although Wilson was unable to convince leaders from Britain and France to implement most of his Fourteen Points, the Treaty did establish a League of Nations, a cornerstone of Wilson’s vision for lasting post-war peace. Wilson returned from Paris determined to convince the US Senate to ratify the treaty, but he encountered resistance. Ultimately, the Senate never reached the two-thirds majority needed for ratification, and the United States never joined the League of Nations. In this lesson, students examine five documents to answer the question: Why did senators oppose joining the League of Nations in 1919?
[Teacher Materials and Student Materials updated 2/21/23.]
Image: Woodrow Wilson's shorthand notes for his 1918 "Fourteen Points" address. From the Library of Congress.