Historic Speech: Woodrow Wilson

In this great historic speech, WOODROW WILSON, defends the League of Nations covenant that was negotiated with the Allied leaders in Paris.

This speech took place in Pueblo, Colorado and caused the President to collapse from complete exhaustion.

WOODROW WILSON:  Again and again, my fellow citizens, mothers who lost their sons in France have come to me and, taking my hand, have shed tears upon it not only, but they had added, ‘God bless you, Mr. President!’ Why, my fellow citizens, should they pray God to bless me?  I advised the Congress of the United States to create the situation that led to the death of their sons.  I ordered their sons oversea.  I consented to their sons being put in the most difficult parts of the battle line, where death was certain, as in the impenetrable difficulties of the forest of Argonne.  Why should they weep upon my hand and call down the blessings of God upon me?  Because they believe that their boys died for something that vastly transcends any of the immediate and palpable objects of the war.  They believe, and they rightly believe, that their sons saved the liberty of the world.  They believe that wrapped up with the liberty of the world is the continuous protection of that liberty by the concerted powers of all civilized people.  They believe that this sacrifice was made in order that other sons should not be called upon for a similar gift – the gift of life, the gift of all that died – and if we did not see this thing through, if we fulfilled the dearest present wish of Germany and now dissociated ourselves from those alongside whom we fought in the war, would not something of the halo go away from the gun over the mantelpiece, or the sword?  Would not the old uniform lose something of its significance?  These men were crusaders. They were not going forth to prove the might of the United States.  They were going forth to prove the might of justice and right, and all the world accepted them as crusaders, and their transcendent achievement has made all the world believe in America as it believes in no other nation organized in the modern world.  There seems to me to stand between us and the rejection or qualification of this treaty the serried ranks of those boys in khaki, not only these boys who came home, but those dear ghosts that still deploy upon the fields of France.

My friends, on last Decoration Day I went to a beautiful hillside near Paris, where was located the cemetery of Suresnes, a cemetery given over to the burial of the American dead.  behind me on the slopes was rank of living American soldiers, and lying before me upon the levels of the plain was rank of departed American soldiers.  Right side by side of the stand where I spoke there was a little group of French women who had adopted those graves, had made themselves mothers of those dear ghosts by putting flowers every day upon those graves, taking them as their own sons, their own beloved, because they had died in the same cause – France was free and the world was free because America had come!  I wish some men in public life who are now opposing the settlement for which these men died could visit such a spot as that.  I wish that the thought that comes out of those graves could penetrate their consciousness.  I wish that they could feel the moral obligation that rests upon us not to go back on those boys, but to see the thing through, to see it through to the end and make good their redemption of the world.  Nothing less depends upon this decision, nothing less than the liberation and salvation of the world…

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