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March 5, 1917. (Second Inaugural Address.)
We have still been clear that we wished nothing for ourselves that we were not ready to demand for all mankind-fair dealing, justice, the freedom to live and be at ease against organized wrong.
We have always professed unselfish purpose and we covet the opportunity to prove that our professions are sincere.
These, therefore, are the things we shall stand for.
That the essential principle of peace is the equality of nations in all matters of right or privilege.
That governments derive all their just powers from the consent of the governed and that no other powers should be supported by the common thought, purpose, or power of the family of nations
PRESIDENT WILSON'S STATEMENTS
(During the War)
April 2, 1917. (Address to Congress.)
We are glad now that we see the facts with no veil of false pretense about them, to fight thus for the ultimate peace of the world and for the liberation of its peoples, the German peoples included; for the rights of nations great and small and the privilege of men everywhere to choose their way of life and of obedience. The world must be made safe for democracy.
We are but one of the champions of the rights of mankind. We shall be satisfied when these rights have been made as secure as the faith and the freedom of nations can make them.
But the right is more precious than peace, and we shall fight for the things we have always carried nearest our hearts-for democracy, for the right of those who submit to authority to have a voice in their own governments, for the rights and liberties of small nations, for the universal dominion of right by such a concert of free peoples as shall bring peace and safety to all nations and make the world itself at last free.
“To such a task we can dedicate our lives and fortunes and everything that we are and everything that we have, with the pride of those who know that the day has come when America is privileged to spend her blood and her might for the principles that gave her birth and happiness and the peace that she has treasured. God helping her, she can
do no other."'* May 22, 1917. (Letter to Representative Heflin.)
The whole of the conception which I take to be the conception of our fellow countrymen with regard to the outcome of the war and the terms of its settlement I set forth with the utmost explicitness in an Address to the Senate of the United States on the 22nd of January last.
*NOTE: A few days later, Mr. Bonar Law said in the House of Commons: “America's aims and ideals are those of the Allies."
May 26, 1917. (Cablegram to Russia).
She (America) is fighting for no advantage or selfish object of her own, but for the liberation of peoples everywhere from the aggressions of autocratic force
“We are fighting for the liberty, the self-government and the undictated development of all peoples, and every feature of the settlement that concludes this war must be conceived and executed for that purpose. Wrongs must first be righted and then adequate safeguards must be created to prevent their being committed again. We ought not to consider remedies merely because they have a pleasing and sonorous sound. Practical questions can be settled only by practical means. Phrases will not accomplish the result. Effective readjustments will, and whatever readjustments are necessary must be made.
“But they must follow a principle and that principle is plain. No people must be forced under a sovereignty under which it does not wish to live.
For these things we can afford to pour out blood and treasure
July 14, 1917. (Cablegram to French Government).
our peoples today stand shoulder to shoulder in defense of liberty in testimony of the steadfast purpose of our two countries to achieve victory for the sublime cause of the rights of the people against oppression. The lesson of the Bastile is not lost to the world of free peoples."
August 27, 1917. (Reply to the Pope).
The American people believe that peace should rest upon the rights of peoples, not the rights of governments—the rights of peoples great or small, weak or powerful—their equal right to security
and freedom and self-government." December 4, 1917. (Address to Congress).
we shall be willing and glad to pay the full price for peace, and pay it ungrudgingly. We know what that price will be. It will be full impartial justice-justice done at every point and to every nation that the final settlement must affect, our enemies as well as our friends.
January 8, 1918. (Address to Congress).
We have spoken now surely in terms too concrete to admit of any further doubt or question. An evident principle runs through the whole program I have outlined. It is the principle of justice to all nationalities and peoples, and their right to live on equal terms of liberty and safety with one another, whether they be strong or weak. Unless this principle be made its foundation no part of the structure of international justice can stand. The people of the United States could act upon no other principle; and to the vindication of this principle they are ready to devote their lives, their honor, and everything that they possess.
February 11, 1918. (Address to Congress).
National aspirations must be respected; peoples may now be dominated and governed only by their own consent. "Selfdetermination' is not a mere phrase. It is an imperative principle of action, which statesmen will henceforth ignore at their peril.
This war had its roots in the disregard of the rights of small nations and of nationalities which lacked the union and the force to make good their claim to determine their own allegiances and their own forms of political life.
Unless these problems are dealt with in a spirit of unselfish and unbiased justice, with a view to the wishes, the natural connections, the racial aspirations, the security and peace of mind of the peoples involved, no permanent peace will have been attained
all well-defined national aspirations shall be accorded the utmost satisfaction that can be accorded them July 4, 1918. (Address at Mt. Vernon).
The settlement of every question, whether of territory of sovereignty, of economic arrangement, or of political relationship, upon the basis of the free acceptance of that settlement by the people immediately concerned, and not upon the basis of the material interest or advantage of any other nation or people which may desire a different settlement for the sake of its own exterior influence or mastery.
These great objects can be put into a single sentence: What we seek is the reign of law, based upon the consent of the governed
and sustained by the organized opinion of mankind September 1, 1918. (Public Message to Labor).
“It is a war to make the nations and the peoples of the world secure against every such Power as the German autocracy represents.
“Germany was striking at what freemen everywhere desired and must have—the right to determine their own fortune, to insist upon justice. The world cannot be safe
so long as Gorernments, like that which, after long premeditation, drew Austria and Germany into this war, are permitted to control the destinies and the daily fortunes of men and nations, plotting while honest men work, laying the fires of which innocent men, women and children are to be the fuel. The soldiers
are crusaders They are giving their lives that homes everywhere as well as the homes they love in America may be kept sacred and safe and men everywhere
be free as they insist upon being free September 27, 1918. (Address to Public Meeting in New York).
Those issues (war issues) are: 1. Shall the military power of any nation or group of natior.s be suffered to determine the fortunes of peoples over whom they have no right to rule except the right of force ?
*NOTE: Premier Lloyd George the following day, addressing the American troops in France, said: “President Wilson yesterday made it clear what we are fighting for.”
2. Shall strong nations be free to wrong weak nations and make them subject to their purpose and interest?
3. Shall peoples be ruled and dominated, even in their own internal affairs, by arbitrary and irresponsible force or by their own will and choice ?
4. Shall there be a common standard of right and privilege for all peoples and nations or shall the strong do as they will and the weak suffer without redress?
It is of capital importance that we should also be explicitly agreed that no peace shall be obtained by any kind of compromise or abatement of the principles we have avowed as the principles for which we are fighting.
The price (of peace) is impartial justice in every item of the settlement, no matter whose interest is crossed.
These then are some of the particulars, and I state them with the greater confidence because I can state them authoritatively as representing this Government's interpretation of its own duty with regard to peace:
“First, the impartial justice meted out must involve no discrimination between those to whom we wish to be just and those to whom we do not wish to be just. It must be a justice that plays no favorites and knows no standard but the equal rights of the several peoples concerned;
"Second, no special or separate interest of any single nation or any group of nations can be made the basis of any part of the settlement which is not consistent with the common interest of all."
EXTRACTS FROM NOTES BETWEEN GERMANY AND
Germany to America, October 6, 1918:
* It (the German Government) accepts the programme set forth by the President of the United States in his message to Congress of January 8, 1918, and in his later pronouncements, especially
his speech of September 27, as a basis for peace negotiations. * President Wilson's Reply to Germany, October 8, 1918:
Does the Imperial Chancellor mean that the Imperial German Government accepts the terms laid down by the President in his address to the Congress of the United States on January 8th last and in subsequent addresses, and that its object in entering into discussions would be only to agree upon the practical details of their
application? Germany to President Wilson, October 12, 1918:
The German Government has accepted the terms laid down by President Wilson in his address of January 8 and in his subsequent Address on the foundation of a permanent peace of justice. Consequently its object in entering into discussions would be only to agree upon practical details of the application of these terms.
“The German Government believes that the Governments of the Powers associated with the Government of the United States also
adopt the position taken by President Wilson in his Address. President Wilson's Reply to Germany, October 14, 1918:
"*** The unqualified acceptance by the present German Government and by a large majority of the German Reichstag of the terms laid down by the President of the United States of America in his addresses to the Congress of the United States on January 8, 1918, and in his subsequent addresses justifies the President in making a frank and direct statement of his decision in regard to the communications of the German Government of the 8th and 12th October, 1918. * *
"*** It is necessary, also, in order that there may be no possi. bility of misunderstanding, that the President should very solemnly call the attention of the Government of Germany to the language and plain intent of one of the terms of peace which the German Government has now accepted. It is contained in the Address of the President delivered at Mount Vernon on July 4th last. It is as follows:
66** * The destruction of every arbitrary power anywhere that can separately, secretly, and of its single choice disturb the peace of the world; or, if it cannot be presently destroyed, at least its reduction
to virtual impotency. President Wilson's Reply to Germany, October 22, 1918:
“Having received the solemn and explicit assurance of the German Government that it unreservedly accepts the terms of peace laid down in his address to Congress of the United States on January 8, 1918, and the principles of set:lement enunciated in his subsequent addresses, particularly the address of September 27th, and that it desires to discuss the details of their application, * * * the President of the United States feels that he cannot decline to take up * the question of
an armistice.'' Germany to President Wilson, October 23, 1918:
"6* * * The German Government now awaits proposals for an armistice which shall be a first step towards a just peace, as the President has described it in his proclamation." PRESIDENT WILSON'S STATEMENTS
(After the Armistice) February 24, 1919. (Address at Boston). Speaking of his reception on the other side of the Atlantic:
the cry that comes from men who say we have waited for this day when the friends of liberty should come across the sea and shake hands with us to see that the new world was constructed upon a new basis and foundation of justice and right.
“The proudest thing I have to report to you is that this great country of ours is trusted throughout the world.
Every interest seeks out first of all when it reaches Paris the representatives of the United States
because there is no nation in Europe that suspects the motives of the United States.