American people, that their "character and reputation" might "presently, in God's providence, bring" them "an opportunity such as has seldom been vouchsafed any nation, the opportunity to counsel and obtain peace in the world and reconciliation and a healing settlement of many a matter which has cooled and interrupted the friendship of nations." "This," he continued, "is the time above others when we should wish and resolve to keep our strength by self-possession, our influence by preserving our ancient principles of action."
This is the question which Woodrow Wilson, who always felt himself to be an educator as well as a statesman, threw open to the American people for their consideration in this first phase of his teaching on world affairs. It is a question which it took them some thirty years to discuss and to think out before they found the answer.
THE President's words cited in the preceeding chapter, reveal his expectation that, at the close of hostilities, there would be an international conference, in which the United States would take part, and that this conference would bring an "opportunity" to "obtain peace in the world." But what kind of peace? A peace on American lines and applying American "principles of action." That is the thought between the lines of this carefully prepared message, as we can see in the light of after-events.
Now, in using such language the President was passing over in silence another set of principles, espoused by many leading Americans at that time, which carried a label marked, not "American,"