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Why We Are at War : Messages to the Congress January to April 1917   By: (1856-1924)

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In "Why We Are at War: Messages to the Congress January to April 1917," Woodrow Wilson, the 28th President of the United States, provides a comprehensive account of the events and reasons leading up to the United States' entry into World War I. Through a collection of his speeches and letters addressed to Congress, Wilson passionately explains the motivations behind America's involvement in the war, outlining his justifications with great clarity and conviction.

Wilson's book serves as a historical document, presenting the reader with firsthand accounts of his rationalization for American intervention. By meticulously compiling these records, readers gain valuable insights into the President's thoughts, his beliefs, and his vision for America in the world at that time.

One aspect of the book that stands out is Wilson's eloquence and persuasive abilities as a writer. His speeches and letters are crafted with a remarkable sense of clarity, providing a compelling narrative that captures the imagination. He skillfully blends strong moral arguments with logical reasoning, aiming to engage both the emotions and intellect of his readers. Wilson's language is evocative, fostering a sense of urgency and duty, as he outlines the threat that an unchecked German Empire posed to democracy and international stability.

Another notable feature of this book is its ability to transport readers back to the tumultuous period leading up to America's entry into the war. By presenting a sequential collection of messages, Wilson crafts a compelling narrative arc that highlights the growing tension and subsequent decision to join the war effort. Readers gain a deeper understanding of the political climate, economic factors, and domestic sentiments that influenced Wilson's decisions. This historical context allows for a more comprehensive understanding of the events unfolding during that time and the consequences they had on American society.

Moreover, the book challenges readers to reflect upon the ethics of war and America's role in it. Wilson delves into the complexities of neutrality, laying out his arguments for abandoning it in favor of intervention. While some may question the validity of Wilson's arguments, it is undeniably thought-provoking to examine the moral underpinnings that drove him to action.

One potential critique of "Why We Are at War" is that it primarily focuses on Wilson's perspective, inevitably leaving gaps and limitations in the narrative. The book could have benefited from additional perspectives or alternative viewpoints to provide readers with a more balanced and comprehensive understanding of the historical context.

In conclusion, "Why We Are at War: Messages to the Congress January to April 1917" by Woodrow Wilson is an engaging and thought-provoking read. Wilson's ability to articulate his convictions, combined with the careful arrangement of his speeches and letters, invites readers to delve into the complex decision-making process surrounding America's entry into World War I. This book serves as an important historical document, allowing us to revisit a critical juncture in American history and gain a deeper appreciation for the complexities of war and global politics.

First Page:


Messages to the Congress January to April, 1917 by Woodrow Wilson, President of the United States, with the President's proclamation of war April 6, 1917 and his message to the American people April 15, 1917.

Harper & Brothers Publishers, New York and London. Published May, 1917


I. A WORLD LEAGUE FOR PEACE Message to the Senate, January 22, 1917.


III. REQUEST FOR A GRANT OF POWER Message to the Congress, February 26, 1917.

IV. WE MUST ACCEPT WAR Message to the Congress, April 2, 1917.

V. A STATE OF WAR The President's Proclamation of April 6, 1917.

VI. "SPEAK, ACT, AND SERVE TOGETHER" Message to the American people, April 15, 1917.


This book presents in convenient form the memorable messages to the Congress read by President Wilson in January, February, and April, 1917. They should be read together, for only in this way is it possible to appreciate both the forbearance and the logic of events reflected in these consecutive chapters of history. While the great war message of April 2d is obviously the most momentous, its full significance is not made clear unless it is read as the climax of the preceding messages and also in connection with the President's proclamation of a state of war on April 6th and his message to the American people of April 15th... Continue reading book >>

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