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11-08-2015, 16:52


The central role that the United States had played briefly on the global diplomatic scene faded quickly. The Senate's rejection of the Treaty of Versailles and its clause establishing the League of Nations foreshadowed the prolonged period of isolation that followed. While polls had shown that much of the public favored the League, Republican senator Henry Cabot Lodge delayed the process of ratification in summer 1919 until opponents of the League could rouse popular feeling against it. President Wilson tried to win over the public, but was paralyzed by a stroke during a train tour across the country. Back in Washington, he rejected changes in the treaty clauses pertaining to the League that might have overcome opposition in the Senate. In the end, the Senate rejected the entire treaty on November 19, 1919. Disillusionment with the war, fed by artists and writers in the 1920s who criticized the loss of American innocence and the pointlessness of machine-age slaughter, added to the rush to turn inward and to abandon Wilson's internationalism. American economic strength, however, continued to play a dominant global role, even during the 1920s.