Lesson Plans: Grades 9-12
Curriculum Unit

The Debate in the United States over the League of Nations (3 Lessons)

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The Unit

Overview

Sometimes people call me an idealist. Well, that is the way I know I am an American . . . America is the only idealist nation in the world.”
—President Woodrow Wilson
National I must remain and in that way I, like all other Americans, can render the amplest service to the world.”
—Senator Henry Cabot Lodge

American foreign policy continues to resonate with the issues surrounding the debate over U.S. entry into the League of Nations-collective security versus national sovereignty, idealism versus pragmatism, the responsibilities of powerful nations, the use of force to accomplish idealistic goals, the idea of America. Understanding the debate over the League and the consequences of its ultimate failure provides insight into international affairs in the years since the end of the Great War and beyond.

In this lesson, students read the words and listen to the voices of some central participants in the debate over the League of Nations.

Note: This lesson may be taught either as a stand-alone lesson or as a sequel to the complementary EDSITEment lesson U.S. Entry into World War I: A Documentary Chronology.

Guiding Questions

  • What was Woodrow Wilson's role in and vision for peace and the League of Nations after World War I?
  • What were the central issues in the debate in America over the League of Nations?

Learning Objectives

  • Describe Wilson's concepts for peace and the League of Nations and efforts to foster American support for it.
  • Discuss the opposition to the League in the Senate.

Preparation Instructions

The Lessons

  • Lesson 1: The Debate in the United States over the League of Nations: League of Nations Basics

    Woodrow Wilson for League of Nations

    American foreign policy resonates with the same issues as the debate over U.S. entry into the League of Nations-collective security versus national sovereignty, idealism versus pragmatism, the responsibilities of powerful nations, the use of force to accomplish idealistic goals, the idea of America. Understanding the debate over the League and the consequences of its ultimate failure provides insight into international affairs in the years since the end of the Great War and beyond. In this lesson, students read the words and listen to the voices of some central participants in the debate over the League of Nations.

  • Lesson 2. The Debate in the United States over the League of Nations: Disagreement Over the League

    Woodrow Wilson for League of Nations

    American foreign policy debate over U.S. entry into the League of Nations-collective security versus national sovereignty, idealism versus pragmatism, the responsibilities of powerful nations, the use of force to accomplish idealistic goals, the idea of America. Understanding the debate over the League and the consequences of its failure provides insight into international affairs in the years since Great War. In this lesson, students read the words and listen to the voices of some central participants in the debate over the League of Nations.

  • Lesson 3: The Debate in the United States over the League of Nations: Five Camps: From Voices of Consent to Voices of Dissent

    Woodrow Wilson for League of Nations

    American foreign resonates with the debate over U.S. entry into the League of Nations-collective security versus national sovereignty, idealism versus pragmatism, the responsibilities of powerful nations, the use of force to accomplish idealistic goals, the idea of America. Understanding the debate over the League and the consequences of its failure provides insight into international affairs in the years since the Great War and beyond. In this lesson, students read the words and listen to the voices of some central participants in the debate over the League of Nations.

The Basics

Grade Level

9-12

Subject Areas
  • History and Social Studies > Place > Europe
  • History and Social Studies > U.S. > The Emergence of Modern America (1890-1930)
  • History and Social Studies > Themes > War and Foreign Policy
Skills
  • Critical analysis
  • Critical thinking
  • Debate
  • Discussion
  • Evaluating arguments
  • Gathering, classifying and interpreting written, oral and visual information
  • Historical analysis
  • Making inferences and drawing conclusions
  • Textual analysis
  • Using archival documents