A New World Summary

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

In this final section we examine two documents that look forward to the world after the war. In the first, President Woodrow Wilson’s “Fourteen Points,” the author envisions a world in which the guiding principle is “justice to all peoples and nationalities, and their right to live on equal terms of liberty and safety.” Wilson identifies such necessities as freedom of navigation, equality of trade, military arms reduction, the resolution of colonial-era claims, the restoration of borders in Europe, and–probably the most important–a “general association of nations” as among the building blocks for the erection of a new world. The last item, an association of nations, later was instituted in the form of the League of Nations, a precursor to the United Nations. Other points in Wilson’s program proved to be instrumental, too, particularly when Germany agreed, in October 1918, to an armistice largely on the basis of the Fourteen Points.

In this final section we examine two documents that look forward to the world after the war. In the first, President Woodrow Wilson’s “Fourteen Points,” the author envisions a world in which the guiding principle is “justice to all peoples and nationalities, and their right to live on equal terms of liberty and safety.” Wilson identifies such necessities as freedom of navigation, equality of trade, military arms reduction, the resolution of colonial-era claims, the restoration of borders in Europe, and–probably the most important–a “general association of nations” as among the building blocks for the erection of a new world. The last item, an association of nations, later was instituted in the form of the League of Nations, a precursor to the United Nations. Other points in Wilson’s program proved to be instrumental, too, particularly when Germany agreed, in October 1918, to an armistice largely on the basis of the Fourteen Points.

In the final selection the American philosopher John Dewey discusses the reforms expected to come about in the postwar environment. Generally, Dewey favors participatory democracy–government by the people–and the embracing of democratic ideals as a complete way of life. In the world of the future, as Dewey saw it, there would be a kind of leveling of incomes, influence, and political involvement. Society would realize its potential by making the most of its human capital. Such, at least, was the vision at the time–a vision prompted by the outbreak of war.

Categories: History Content