The Papers of Woodrow Wilson, Volume 62
July 26-September 3, 1919
Edited by Arthur S. Link & J. E. Little
The opening of this volume finds Wilson facing domestic and international problems nearly as complex and urgent as those he had faced in Paris a month before. His main task is to assure the Senate's approval of the Treaty of Versailles, but his abilities are severely compromised by what was almost certainly a "small" stroke on July 19. Most Democrats in the Senate will follow Wilson's lead in the controversy over ratification, so his most important potential allies against Senator Lodge are Republican leaders like Taft and about twenty Republican senators, who favor ratification with reservations to be attached to the articles of ratification. Wilson is willing to accept certain interpretive reservations, but he insists that these must not be incorporated in the ratification document. A prime factor in this thinking is his angry reaction to what he perceives to be the continued atavistic imperialism of the Entente Powers and the resulting conviction that only the unqualified leadership of the United States can create a reformist and democratizing League. A pro-League coalition of two thirds of the Senate and victory on nearly all of Wilson's terms are now in sight. Yet, in a fit of anger, he decides on August 25 to embark on a month-long speaking tour on behalf of the League. As this volume ends, Wilson is still struggling with important domestic problems, and he and his party leave for what, in light of his precarious health, will be a journey with disastrous consequences.
First published in 1990.