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Article X  of the League of Nations (1919)

At the Versailles Peace Conference following World War I, the leaders of the other "Big Four" nations ­ Britain, France and Italy ­ resisted many of Wilsonís proposals for the post war world that he had outlined in his Fourteen Points and insisted that Germany pay reparations for starting the war.  Wilson did succeed, however, in making sure that his proposal for a League of Nations was included in the final draft of the Versailles Treaty.

 The United States Senate (which has the Constitutional obligation to approve treaties by a 2/3rds vote) refused to adopt the Treaty of Versailles primarily because it mandated the formation of a League of Nations.  For many Republicans in the Senate, Article X (ten) was the most objectionable provision.  In 1919 Wilson became ill while campaigning for support for the League of Nations (and the Versailles Treaty more generally).  The Senate never did ratify the Versailles Treaty and the U.S. ­ a world power ­ never joined the League of Nations, hampering the Leagueís credibility as a mediator of world conflict.

As you read, think about why Article X was objectionable to Senate Republicans and to Americans more generally.  And, think about what the American rejection of the League of Nations might suggest about the way Americans felt about Progressivism in 1920.

The Members of the League undertake to respect and preserve as against external aggression the territorial integrity and existing political independence of all Members of the League.  In case of any such aggression or in case of any threat or danger of such aggression the Council shall advise upon the means by which this obligation shall be fulfilled.

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