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Why Wilson MattersThe Origin of American Liberal Internationalism and Its Crisis Today$
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Tony Smith Jr.

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780691183480

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691183480.001.0001

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Wilson’s Wilsonianism

Wilson’s Wilsonianism

(p.130) Chapter Four Wilson’s Wilsonianism
Why Wilson Matters

Tony Smith

Princeton University Press

This chapter assesses Woodrow Wilson's Wilsonianism. At the heart of the Wilsonian project—the keystone of American liberal internationalism—is the promotion of democracy worldwide for the sake of a peaceful international system and thus for American national security. Here is the essential building block of the system of Wilson's notion of “collective security,” itself the best guarantee of world peace his generation could hope to provide. Through the League of Nations, Wilson proposed that a community dominated by democracies pledge itself to a combined military effort to preserve the international system from the threat of a devastating war, or at least to preserve the security of the democratic world. Ultimately, the enduring impact of Wilson's thought on American policy-makers makes him the most important president the United States has ever had with respect to its conduct in world affairs.

Keywords:   Woodrow Wilson, Wilsonianism, American liberal internationalism, democracy, American national security, collective security, world peace, League of Nations, international system, democratic world

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