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America and the Law of Nations 1776-1939$
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Mark Weston Janis

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199579341

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199579341.001.0001

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Woodrow Wilson: The Passion of the Converted

Woodrow Wilson: The Passion of the Converted

(p.158) 9 Woodrow Wilson: The Passion of the Converted
America and the Law of Nations 1776-1939

Mark Weston Janis

Oxford University Press

‘Wilsonian’ is a term often associated with the cause of international law and organization, but how ‘Wilsonian’ was Woodrow Wilson? This chapter argues that though Wilson long had an interest in international law, he was not for most of his life enamoured of it. Rather, his personal encounter with international law began as an academic sideline; late in life it developed into a matter of concern; and only at the end did it become a passion. Wilson's conversion to international law may have been late, but it had a monumental impact on the discipline he had so long belittled. As Wilson fought rigidly and unsuccessfully for the United States to accept his creation — the League of Nations — he enduringly divided American public opinion on whether or not the law of nations was intrinsically a good thing.

Keywords:   Wilsonian, international law, League of Nations

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