My class was assigned a DBQ dealing with Wilson vs Lodge and the Senate on the subject of the Treaty of Versailles. The prompt asks us to decide whether it was the oppostion forces (both liberal and conservative) or Wilson's own ineptitude and stubbornness that defeated the Treaty in the end.
I took the position that it was Wilson's fault that the treaty failed. If it isn't too much trouble, could someone just look over my essay and see if there are any big holes or anything important to add? I feel pretty comfortable with my references to the document, but if there is any prior knowledge that you think might be helpful to include, then please respond =] This is a rough draft, and I plan on improving things like sentence length and such later on. If anything sticks out sorely though, just let me know. Grammar isn't really my strongest point.
Thank you for any suggestions!
It was President Wilson’s own ineptitude and stubbornness that led to the Senate defeat of the Treaty of Versailles rather than the strength of the opposition forces. Even Wilson’s closest and most trusted advisors could not sway his stance. While it is true that opposition forces helped to defeat the treaty, it was Wilson’s unmoveable position that led to its defeat in the Senate.
There was much opposition to the Treaty in the United States, as well as the rest of the world. Document B shows an excerpt from The New Republic proving the public’s general disdain for the Treaty. Whether they had hoped for the treaty to be more lenient on Germany, or more severe, everyone had a problem with the treaty and its disputable clauses. Americans had been promised at the beginning of the war that their efforts would result in a lasting peace that would help preserve democracy and “moralize nationalism” throughout the world. The American populace was severely disappointed when Wilson and his promises fell through, due to his own bullheadedness.
Herbet Hoover, for one, believed that the treaty was too harsh, and urged Wilson to accept the reservations that the Senate had made. As shown in Document D, Hoover attempted to sway Wilson by convincing him that once the treaty was ratified, it could be amended and changed as to make it effective and pleasing to both sides. Wilson however, did not agree and continued to refuse support for ratification of the new version of his treaty.
Americans supported the ideas that Wilson had, but were divided as to the way things should be carried out. In Document I, Jane Addams discusses women’s view on the treaty. There was a general division, but overall a distinct agreement that an international organization was desperately needed, no matter what. W.E.B. DuBois fully supported the League of Nations and in Document H called it the “most forward looking event of the century”. He stated that if it weren’t for Wilson’s pigheadedness, the treaty could have worked out to please everyone.
It is true that Henry Cabot Lodge and the Republican majority in the Senate were a force in the defeat of the treaty. By holding off the vote and making his own reservations to the treaty, Lodge knew that he was using Wilson’s hatred to his advantage. Wilson would have accepted the reservations if they had been proposed by one of his fellow Democrats, but the fact that they had been written by Lodge made Wilson see red. He immediately ordered Democrats to vote entirely against the treaty with the added Lodge reservations. The only possible path to ratification would be to accept the treaty with the new reservations. Wilson chose to block the passing of the treaty by persuading Democrats to vote against it. The blame for the failure of the Treaty of Versailles falls solely into the hands of President Wilson. Rather than allowing the Senate to work through the knots of the treaty, Wilson murdered his own work because of bad blood between Lodge and himself. Wilson’s stubbornness destroyed any chances of the treaty’s success, and the blame of the matter lies entirely with him.