American Isolationism and the European Origins of War

Review Questions

In order to pursue his goal of using American influence overseas only when it was a moral imperative, Wilson put which man in the position of Secretary of State?

  1. Charles Hughes
  2. Theodore Roosevelt
  3. William Jennings Bryan
  4. John Pershing



Why was the German use of the unterseeboot considered to defy international law?

  1. because other countries did not have similar technology
  2. because they refused to warn their targets before firing
  3. because they constituted cruel and unusual methods
  4. because no international consensus existed to employ submarine technology



To what extent were Woodrow Wilson’s actual foreign policy decisions consistent with his foreign policy philosophy or vision?


Wilson’s foreign policy goal was to minimize American involvement abroad and use a less imperialistic approach than the presidents before him. Rather than being guided by America’s self-interest, he hoped to enact a policy based on moral decisions, acting only when it was morally imperative. In practice, however, Wilson found himself, especially in South and Central America, following the steps of other, more interventionist presidents. He sent troops into Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and Cuba, often to ensure that America’s interests were met. In Asia and Mexico, Wilson also found it difficult to remain outside of world affairs without jeopardizing America’s interests.