Woodrow Wilson asking Congress for Declaration of War

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Prior to this speech, President Wilson had been vehemently against war in Europe. In fact, this is what helped get him reelected. The sinking of American ships, namely the Lusitania, helped garner support for the war, but also helped demonize the German people. In the speech, Wilson says how before these events American and Germany had good relations and no quarrels. Furthermore, Wilson adds that any non-democratic government can’t be trusted, saying, “A steadfast concert for peace can never be maintained except by a partnership of democratic nations. No autocratic government could be trusted to keep faith within it or observe its covenants.” This adds to the perceived uniqueness of the American Government that many Americans have; a major component of American Exceptionalism.