22.01.2018 in Political Science
Senate Rejects the League of Nations


The decision to reject any proposition of The President, in the United States of America is vested on the Senate (Zimmern, 1998). In addition, the bicameral parliament gives the senate more power to overrule the decisions of the lower chamber of the Congress (Anghie, 2002).  Essentially, bicameral system helps in providing checks on the two chambers, thereby balancing the excesses of one chamber (Harriman, 2003). In the United State for example, the Senate has the powers to give consent to treaties, approves presidential appointments to senior government positions as well as the ambassadors. Fundamentally, these roles make it the organ that has the final say on decisions made in the country.

Besides, the Senate has the duty to confirm impeachment of a Federal Official that the House of Representatives passes (Harriman, 2003). Therefore, it means that the Senate has authority over the Lower Chamber in the Congress. It is usual in the American politics that the Senate could overrule even the Presidential directives or ideas. Therefore, this research presents an analysis of the reasons for the Senate’s rejection of the former President Wilson’s idea, for the United States to enter the League of Nations (Zimmern, 1998).   

Wilson’s Interest in the League of Nations

The idea of the League of Nations was the creation of the former United States President called Woodrow Wilson after the First World War (Harriman, 2003). This organization was formed in 1920 and was dissolved in 1946. In essence, the formation of the organization was intended to bring to an end the war, and unite all the countries in an effort to enhance corporation (Anghie, 2002). Apparently, Wilson’s action was geared to protect the interest of each warring country in terms of their territorial boundary and for the security of the people.

Initially, The President was ready to promote the idea for the sake of the less dominant countries, which would be worst hit by any disaster or crisis of that nature. However, He did not share the same vision and interest with all the Senators. His assumptions that forming the organization and making the United States a permanent member would benefit both the Americans and the rest of the world that the war threatened.

The organization was to bridge the gap that resulted from the fall of the Britain dominations of the colonies. In reality, the country faced a lot of resistance and in their attempt to gain this lost glory, the world plunged into conflict. The then U.S President sought for ways of amicably solving the problem. The research also revealed that the formation of this organization would bring peace to the rest of the world. As a result, Wilson attempted to lure the Congress to pass a resolution to ratify the treaty, since it is the body that is charged with the role.

Particularly, it was the responsibility of the leaders to create the best ways of ending the conflict and to ensure that people were assured of peace and security. Indeed, this was to be done with the support of other countries in Europe and other parts of the world. Mr. Wilson was just an architect of the organization and had to receive the backing of the Senate and other countries. There were ethical considerations that he had in mind. The extensive loss that resulted from the fight might have angered The President, hence provoked his interest to find amicable solution to the problem.    

Notably, France, Italy and Great Britain, who were among the powerful countries of the day, supported The President’s intention of bringing world peace (Anghie, 2002). This was happening at the time when there was already discontent at home, over the intention for making the U.S a permanent member of the organization. The position of the United States at that time was vital for the formation of such an organization, in terms of military strength and financial capability. Certainly, Wilson was interested to push for a peaceful atmosphere that would guarantee both political and economic development of all countries. Besides, He was pushing for the United States to become a permanent member of the organization.   

Failed Ratification

The role of the Senate, as the highest organ charged with decision making, is to ratify treaties such as those that intend to bring peaceful co-existence among different countries. Indeed, the influence of the two thirds majority of the Senators needed for the ratification of such a treaty could be a difficult task even for a sitting President. As a result, lobbying for the support might have divided the house to oppose the treaty.   

The intention of Wilson was not received well across the Senators, both from the ruling party and the opposition. Most of the Senators were pessimistic about the nature of the US involvement in the organization (Harriman, 2003). The difference in their views was as a result of the unspecific reasons that were more of individual opinion, than in the interest of the public or other nations (Anghie, 2002).

Particularly, there were two schools of thought that emerged concerning the issue. Some Senators from the ruling party saw the War as an affair of Europe and thus the United States had no role in engaging in the tussle (Packer, 2009). They argued that Europe was to sort out the mess on their own. However, The President did not think so, and continued with his push to end the crisis. 

On the other hand, the opposition Senators at that time, who were the Republicans, had problems with financing the organization. Literally, the opposition did not want the U.S to set aside funds to help the organization. They too, argued that the implication of the organization would see the U.S spend millions of Dollars, which may otherwise be used in developing other sectors of the economy. The heated debate on the issue led to several amendments to secure enough support, which ended in vain (Packer, 2009).

At last, in early march, 1920 the Senators voted against the treaty, making the then President’s efforts, of making the U.S a permanent member of the organization to become futile (Packer, 2009). Even though the earlier intention was aimed at ensuring sustained World peace, most of the pessimist Senators voted against the treaty, which really frustrated the architect. According to the standing orders governing the Senate, if two thirds of the Senators vote against a motion brought before the Upper Chamber, then the motion is declared void (Harriman, 2003).

Power to Declare War

The declaration of war is only done with the approval of the Congress. This implies that any treaty that is aimed at prohibiting the United States has to be deliberated and passes by Senate. Therefore, The President ought to have gained the required number, before the bill could be tabled before the house. 

The United States Senate, which is the upper chamber of the Congress, has the power to declare war (Martin, 2008). Therefore, in case of a treaty that bars the U.S from declaring War, it would bar the country from protecting other minorities, who might be affected during any conflict. According to the United States Constitution, The president could only make treaties after the advice and approval of two thirds of the sitting Senate (Harriman, 2003). Therefore, it means that a divided Senate could not enable The President to get the number needed for such debate to sail through. The validity of any treaty reached by the United State’s Federal government is achieved only when the issue has been passed by two thirds majority of the Senate (Martin, 2008).

This implies that the Senate, having passed the binding treaty would not be able to declare war even if the matter was pressing (Harriman, 2003). The Senators knew that there is no International Law that could compel the country without the approval of the Senate. Therefore, once approved, the treaty would be binding and the country would have no alternative, but to follow its provisions. Consequently, it meant that passing the treaty would jeopardize the status of the United States in its foreign policy and further actions regarding War and Peace (Martin, 2008).

In fact, it was realized that the Senators did not want such a binding law, and were never pleased with their President for advocating for such a treaty. Perhaps, this view might have affected the pattern of voting (Harriman, 2003). Whether the action of the Senators was justified or not is a matter of personal opinion. Generally, it was not justified for the Senators to ignore a call for International peace at the interest of a few American people (Martin, 2008). The Senators ought to have incorporated the views of the majority in the call for peace to prevail especially after this long war that had affected the economies of several countries.  


In summary, it is evidenced that the then President of the United States had the humane thinking that the War would deteriorate the economic gains, that most countries have worked for over the years. Therefore, He did not want the continued destruction of property. He could be perceived as a person whose interest was to see people living in harmony throughout the world. However, what came clearly was the non-unification of the Senators. In fact most of them did not share the vision of The President hence could not give the necessary support.

Also, the strength of the United States Federal Constitution was also put to test. It revealed that the constitution did not give room even to the sitting President to make decrees or rule in a dictatorial manner. The rule of law was seen to have taken its course, and that the interest of the majority overruled that of a single individual. It is usual in the American politics that the Senate could overrule even the motions that a section of the population would think important. Truly, the ethical deliberation would have taken course as opposed to the interest of a few individuals. Indeed, the action of the Senators may be perceived as dictatorship of the congress. The Senators, in their assessment of the idea should have integrated the interest of the people in the call for peace, especially after this war that had wrecked the economies of other countries. 

The other thing that the research revealed was the financial implication, which the government would have for being a permanent member of the League of Nations. Indeed, the money that the U.S would have spent in helping the organization could be more than the intended. The impact of that financial involvement would have made some of the Senators to vote against the treaty. In addition, it became clear that the Senate has the duty to verify impeachment of the State Officials that the House of Representatives would vote in favor. Hence, it clarifies that the Senate has influence over the Lower Chamber in the Congress.

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