Putting It All Together
Wilson's supporters believed he was defeated, both physically and politically, by an ideal that the United States was not yet ready to accept. Yet many believe that his principles and leadership in crafting the League of Nations left a rich legacy for future peacemakers. His dream of an international tribunal that would help to maintain peace came to fruition when the United Nations was founded in 1945.
Activity 1: Public Speaking
Break the class into groups of three or four. Using copies of Wilson's speeches included in this lesson, have the students read the speeches to each other, citing the phrases you believe are especially important. Then hold a full class discussion reporting the ideas present in the speeches and whether they believe they were worth personal sacrifice. Using Wilson's radio address as a model, ask each group to work together to write and present a brief radio address that will persuade the nation to return to the ideal of world peace. Have one member of each group present the talk to the class. Then have a full class discussion of the points made in the speeches.
Activity 2: Current Events and Wilson's Peace
Ask students to look through current newspaper and magazine articles to identify and summarize articles that show either the success or failure of international peace in the modern world. Have students read their summaries to each other in class and discuss the consequences of upholding or ignoring Wilson's ideal of world peace. Ask whether they believe the United Nations has acted to ensure the peaceful settlement of problems in a manner appropriate to Wilson's model.
Activity 3: Partisan Political Cartoons
Using the "Three Little Elephants" cartoon as a model, have students draw their own political cartoons relating to the debate over the League of Nations or over a current issue relating to peace. Have students present their works to the class and explain how they represented the personalities and points of view involved. Post the cartoons on a bulletin board or collect them to be published in a class newspaper.
Activity 4: The Power of Mankind: Helping our own Communities
In his September, 1919 speech to Pueblo, Colorado, Woodrow Wilson, in support of the League of Nations, said, “There is only one power behind the liberation of mankind, and that is the power of mankind.” A predecessor of the United Nations, the League of Nations was focused on improving both international relations and quality of life around the world. Organizations in local communities and states also focus on resolving conflicts and providing for basic human needs. Have students break into small groups and research the history of a local relief agency of their choice. Following their research, have the students present what problems face the community or state and how local relief agencies work to remedy the problems. After completing your research, discuss with the students how they can make a difference in their community. Discuss how local problems are linked to those around the world. Have the students look into activities they can do within their own community to further the work of one of the organizations they researched.