America Rejects the Treaty

Previous Section: Wilson at the Paris Peace Conference

  • Wilson left Paris on February 15th to return to U.S.
  • Promote League of Nations
  • Saw League of Nations as a main feature of the treaty

What Is?

  • League of Nations - international organization headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland
  • created after World War 1
  • provide a forum for resolving international disputes
  • Treaty of Versailles- formal peace treaty that ended state war between Germany and Allied Powers

Wilson's Belief/Thoughts:

  • Overtime the League could correct problems of the treaty
  • Lasting peace could emerge

Troubles Back Home:

  • German Americans saw treaty as too harsh toward Germany
  • "War guilt clause" suggested that Germany had caused war
  • Irish Americans criticized failure to create an independent Ireland
  • Treaty needed to be submitted to Republican Controlled Senate Foreign Relations Committee
  • Approved by Republican Controlled Senate

Stiff Opposition

  • Handful of senators believed that U.S. should not get entangled in world politics/organizations
  • Isolationist senators known as Irreconcilables opposed to any treaty that had to do with League of Nations
  • Disliked Article 10

Article 10

  • Mutual defense by the signers of the treaty pledge that each nation "respect and preserve" the territorial integrity and existing political independence of all members of the League


  • Larger group of senators led by Henry Cabot
  • Opposed treaty
  • Some wanted small changes others demanded larger ones
  • Language was too vague
  • Demand not go against power of Congress to declare war
  • Example: Article 10 lead U.S. into war w/o consent of Congress (unconstitutional)

Senate Rejects the Treaty

  • November 1919
  • Treaty revised to eliminate complaints of reservationist
  • Wilson wouldn't compromise