The fight over the League of Nations at the end of World War I was one of the great political debates of the American twentieth century. President Woodrow Wilson, himself a key architect of the League, was uncompromising in his belief that the United States would rise to a position of leadership in the peaceful union of states that he had envisaged. A masterful politician and distinguished theorist, Wilson was unprepared for the persuasiveness of his opponents and the potency of their argument. Though he struggled tirelessly in the summer of 1919 to drum popular and political support for the League, he could not keep pace: he suffered a disabling stroke in July. The United States Senate ultimately rejected membership in the League, and the League failed to realize its diplomatic potential. In this engaging narrative, John Cooper relates the story of Wilson's battle for the League with sympathy, accuracy, and a deep understanding of the times. John Milton Cooper, Jr., is E. Gordon Fox Professor of American Institutions at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He has held Guggenheim and National Endowment for the Humanities fellowships and served as a Fulbright Professor at Moscow University. His previous books inlcude The Warrior and the Priest (Harvard University Press, 1985) and Pivotal Decades (Norton, 1992). Cooper is Chief Historian of the forthcoming biography of Woodrow Wilson on American Experience, which will be broadcast by PBS in 2002.
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