Woodrow Wilson: Fourteen Points

(1918)

In an address to Congress on January 8, 1918, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson outlined Fourteen Points that he believed should be the basis of a peace agreement ending World War I. His Fourteen Points speech preempted the territorial claims of the United States' cobelligerents and successfully established his lofty goals as the starting point for peace negotiations. More than that, it marked a turning point in world politics. In Wilson's new international order, morality and law would replace self-interest; cooperation would replace conflict.

In his Address to Congress Leading to a Declaration of War against Germany, which he delivered on April 2, 1917, Wilson had called for a war to make the world “safe for democracy.” This idealistic declaration set the United States apart from the other warring nations that fought for specific territorial goals, many of which they had outlined in secret treaties with one another. Wilson recognized that the United States would play an...

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Woodrow Wilson's Fourteen Points (National Archives and Records Administration)

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