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US Entry into World War I - Opposing Viewpoints: Home

Robert M. La Follette

La Follette has been called "arguably the most important and recognized leader of the opposition to the growing dominance of corporations over the Government"[2] and is one of the key figures in Wisconsin's long history of political liberalism. In 1957, a Senate Committee selected La Follette as one of the five greatest U.S. Senators, along with Henry ClayDaniel WebsterJohn C. Calhoun, and Robert A. Taft. A 1982 survey asking historians to rank the "ten greatest Senators in the nation's history" based on "accomplishments in office" and "long range impact on American history," placed La Follette first, tied with Henry Clay.[3]

Senator Norris

George William Norris (July 11, 1861 – September 2, 1944) was a politician from the state of Nebraska in the Midwestern United States. He served five terms in the United States House of Representatives as a Republican, from 1903 until 1913, and five terms in the United States Senate, from 1913 until 1943, four terms as a Republican and the final term as an independent. Norris was defeated for reelection in 1942.

Norris was a leader of progressive and liberal causes in Congress. He is best known for his intense crusades against what he characterized as "wrong and evil",[1] his liberalism, his insurgency against party leaders, his isolationist foreign policy, his support for labor unions, and especially for creating the Tennessee Valley Authority. President Franklin Roosevelt called him "the very perfect, gentle knight of American progressive ideals," and this has been the theme of all of his biographers.[2] A 1957 advisory panel of 160 scholars recommended that Norris was the top choice for the five best Senators in U.S. history.[3]

Jeanette Ranking

Jeannette Pickering Rankin (June 11, 1880 – May 18, 1973) was an American politician and women's rights advocate, and the first woman to hold national office in the United States. She was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives by the state of Montana in 1916, and again in 1940.[1] She is to date the only woman elected to Congress from Montana. 

Think about this-when did women get the right to vote?

Woodrow Wilson

On April 2, 1917, President Woodrow Wilson sent this message to a special session of Congress, asking it to declare war against Germany and thus bring the United States into World War I. Relations between the two countries had been deteriorating for years, and Wilson's request was not unexpected by either Congress or the American people. On April 6, Congress complied, thereby ending well more than a century of U.S. isolation from European conflicts.

Four Minute Men

The Four Minute Men were a group of volunteers authorized by United States President Woodrow Wilson, to give four-minute speeches on topics given to them by The Committee on Public Information. In 1917-1918, around 7,555,190 speeches were given in 5,200 communities[1]. The topics dealt with the American war effort in the First World War and were presented during the four minutes between reels changing in movie theaters across the country. Also, the speeches were made to be four minutes so that they could be given at town meetings, restaurants, and other places that had an audience. This is an instance of "viral marketing" before its time.

Samuel Gompers

A speech by Samuel Gompers, president, American Federation of Labor. "In addition to the fundamental principles at issue, labour has a further interest in the war. This war is a people's war, labor's war. The final outcome will be determined in the factories, the mills, the shops, the mines, the farms, the industries and the transportation agencies of the various countries."


*** Special Note: You can listen to the speech AND/OR choose to read the transcript. ***

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