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Why Was Wilson So Eager To Preserve Neutrality?

1459 words - 6 pages

The large majority of the American population all agreed that neutrality was the only course for the United States. Apart from the self interested reasons for neutrality, the length of the war's issues from the United States, the nations ethnic divisions and the economic benefits of trade with both sides Wilson believed that all sides would turn to the U.S. for aid. They would admit, he predicted, "You were right, and we were wrong"¦Now in your self possession, in your coolness, in your strength, may we not turn to you for counsel and for assistance?" The 1916 election could be considered another reason for why Wilson opted for the neutral approach to foreign affairs.If we at first ...view middle of the document...

"Our isolated position and freedom from entangling alliances" . Being aware of this Wilson found it increasingly difficult to get involved in European affairs, knowing their remoteness away from fighting lines. Further study of the causes of the war convinced Wilson that all virtue was not on one side. The military stalemate following the first battle of the Marne in early September made it apparent that neither side could win quickly and decisively and that the only course for the United States to take was neutrality. With the conscious of the continued stalemate along the Western front in Belgium and in France, Wilson didn't want to show allegiance to either sides, unsure of who, the central powers or the allies, were going to win. Supporting the idea of Wilson wanting to preserve the neutrality of the United States, and so president Wilson urged people to stay neutral. As he believed that the United States' destiny was aloof from the old world, he wanted to avoid conflicts from Europe, which most American immigrants had fled to get away from.Wilson repeatedly urged the American people to stay neutral, however with a Population of 92 million, more than 32 million were first or second generation immigrants who remained close ties to their old countries. Among them more than 13 million from the countries at war, the 8 million German Americans were by far the largest group and the 4 million Irish Americans harboured a deep-rooted enmity to Britain. These groups instinctively leaned towards the central powers. So staying neutral in thought as well as in deed really was easier said than done. With a knowledge of this Wilson needed to keep a sense of neutrality throughout the country otherwise the threat of the country falling into civil war again was a distinct possibility. His fears of civil war were constructed by his earliest memories, which were of sectional conflict, and like most Americans of his generation, he dreaded any repetition of that catastrophe, supporting his eagerness to preserve neutrality.With the up coming election of 1916 it is believed that Wilson needed to keep harmony amongst the people of America. He needed a policy of neutrality to keep in favour of the public and therefore vote for him again, to dive straight into war with the allies would unnerve the American people and therefore discourage his voters from voting for him. His presidential campaign of 1916 suggested this. He argued that his diplomacy had reduced risk of war. Facing no challengers from within his own party and with a strong record of domestic reform. He had attracted the support of many of Roosevelt's old progressives as well as others even further to the left, suggesting his campaign and policy of neutrality, was favoured somewhat by the American population. The president seemed to be in a strong position to win the election, by using a confident campaign slogan of, "he kept us out of war". Wilson not only defended his domestic record and promised to go...

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