With the Allies victorious in the Great War, Wilson traveled to Europe, the first serving president to go abroad. The French people hailed him as a virtual messiah who had saved western civilization, all Wilson’s principles and the means he employed to ensure their triumph seeming vindicated. The war would find its meaning at the Peace of Versailles. But at the peace proceedings the Europeans rejected Wilson’s Christian idealism and high-minded belief in inevitable progress. Wilson compromised most of his Fourteen Points in order to save the last and most important—the League of Nations. In America, a recalcitrant Senate and Republican opposition agitated against the treaty. The Senate never ratified the treaty, and the U.S. never joined the League of Nations. After a stroke, Wilson lived the final years of his life as an invalid, certain he was right and bitter that the nation had not followed his lead.
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