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A Peaceful ConquestWoodrow Wilson, Religion, and the New World Order$
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Cara Lea Burnidge

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780226232317

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226232454.001.0001

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A Tale of Two Exceptionalisms

A Tale of Two Exceptionalisms

(p.106) 5 A Tale of Two Exceptionalisms
A Peaceful Conquest

Cara Lea Burnidge

University of Chicago Press

This chapter considers the fights over the League of Nations. On the Senate floor and at public forums around the country, Wilson's opponents criticized the Covenant of the League of Nations according to their own theological justifications for world order, national sovereignty, and American exceptionalism. The chapter illustrates how senators' ideas about religion, which were both naturalized in American culture and expedient to their political agenda, shaped their foreign policy. Both Republican and Democratic senators characterized Wilson's internationalism through their own ideological convictions about God's order, nationalism, and millennial expectation, creating a parallel fight over proper interpretation of American religion. As white Protestants debated the terms of American Christianity through the League of Nations fights, “evangelical” became a Christian identity in transition, one forged in relation to other Protestants and the current historical moment.

Keywords:   Woodrow Wilson, League of Nations, international relations, internationalism, foreign policy, American religion, Christianity

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