In May 1916, Germany announced the suspension of submarine warfare against noncombatants. Wilson’s preparedness program seemed to have succeeded in securing the right of Americans to travel freely on the high seas without committing American forces to the conflict. “He kept us out of war” became the slogan of his campaign for reelection. With the Republican Party reunited after its split in 1912, the election proved to be one of the closest in American history. Wilson defeated Republican candidate Charles Evans Hughes by only twenty-three electoral votes and about 600,000 popular votes out of more than 18 million cast.

Partly because he seemed to promise not to send American soldiers to Europe, Wilson carried ten of the twelve states that had adopted woman suffrage.

Without the votes of women, Wilson would not have been reelected.

On January 22, 1917, Wilson called for a “peace without victory” in Europe and outlined his vision for a world order including freedom of the seas, restrictions on armaments, and self-determination for nations great and small. Almost immediately, however, Germany announced its intention to resume submarine warfare against ships sailing to or from the British Isles, and several American merchant vessels were sunk. The German government realized that its actions would probably lead Wilson to intervene, but German strategists gambled that the blockade would strangle Britain economically before the arrival of American troops.

А 1916 Wilson campaign truck (a new development in political campaigning), promising peace, prosperity, and preparedness.

In March 1917, British spies intercepted and made public the Zimmerman Telegram, a message by German foreign secretary Arthur Zimmerman calling on Mexico to join in a coming war against the United States and promising to help it recover territory lost in the Mexican War of 1846-1848. A revolution in Russia that same month overthrew the czar and established a constitutional government, making it more plausible to believe that the United States would be fighting on the side of democracy. On April 2, Wilson went before Congress to ask for a declaration of war against Germany. “The world,” he proclaimed, “must be made safe for democracy. Its peace must be planted upon the tested foundation of political liberty.” The war resolution passed the Senate 82-6 and the House 373-50.

You can support our site by clicking on this link and watching the advertisement.

If you find an error or have any questions, please email us at Thank you!