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Woodrow WilsonRuling Elder, Spiritual President$
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Barry Hankins

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198718376

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198718376.001.0001

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Pacifist Warrior

Pacifist Warrior

(p.143) 8 Pacifist Warrior
Woodrow Wilson

Barry Hankins

Oxford University Press

When the Great War in Europe began in 1914, Wilson and most Americans believed it was a struggle that had nothing to do with the U.S. Faced with the prospect of defeat for Britain, however, Wilson moved from neutrality to preparedness to war, all in the name of saving democracy. His confidence that God intended for the world to become ever more democratized and therefore Christianized justified the use of violence against the forces that threatened such progress. World War I, therefore, became a righteous and holy war. As he put it, “When men take up arms to set other men free, there is something sacred and holy in the warfare.” He Christianized war much as he had done previously with progressive politics.

Keywords:   World War I, sacred, warfare, neutrality, preparedness, Lusitania

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