After World War I in 1919, Wilson participated in negotiations for the purpose of assuring statehood for formerly oppressed nations and an equitable peace. It was however earlier than 1919 (January 8, 1918, to be exact) when he made his famous Fourteen Points address, where Wilson introduced the idea of a League of Nations, an organization with a stated goal of helping to preserve territorial integrity and political independence among large and small nations alike. He intended the Fourteen Points as a means to end the war and achieve an equitable peace for all the nations.
This desire for peace caused him to spend six months at Paris for the 1919 Paris Peace Conference. His tireless working to promote his plan caused the charter of the proposed League of Nations to be incorporated into the conference’s Treaty of Versailles. After all what Wilson has done in his peacemaking efforts, he could be only deserving to be awarded the 1919 Nobel Peace Prize, despite having failed to win Senate support for ratification and the United States joining the League.
Republicans under Henry Cabot Lodge had the control of Senate then where Wilson refused to give them a voice at Paris by his refusal to agree to Lodge’s proposed changes. With his tireless work for peace it would not be difficult to appreciate the report that the cause of his incapacitation was the physical strain of the challenging public speaking tour Wilson did to obtain support of the American people for ratification of the Covenant of the League.
Thus in one of his final speeches to attempt to attain his goal in promoting the League of Nations in Pueblo, Colorado, on September 25, 1919, he had his collapse which could be a sign of a deeper heart problem as barely a week after the collapse he had serious stroke on October 2, 1919 that almost totally incapacitated him. This event hence left him paralyzed on his left side and blind in his left eye.
This incapacity caused his confinement to a wheelchair but eventually he could walk only with the assistance of a cane. He died on February 3, 1924. Wilson foreign policy initiative under the principle of idealistic internationalism is rooted in his desire for world peace. His advocacy for the for the pursuit of democracy and human rights conceptualized within the context of self-determination for the colonized peoples could have only left a legacy not all other American Presidents had in the history of mankind.
To be awarded with Nobel Peace Price in 1919 was confirmation of his work. He was ready to give everything in the name of peace to extent of staying too long in Paris for the League of Nation eventual adoption. Even his deteriorated health could be evidence of his working toward peace as he collapsed in one of his final speeches for the ratification of the League of Nation, which was unfortunately rejected by his US Senate.
Wilson foreign policy may not be completely said to have been adopted at all circumstance by the US policy makers, as the dictates of realism in the era of the Cold War, that have left concerns for democracy and human rights aside was evident. It may deduced however that following the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, the were new conditions now in place for the tangible and coherent pursuit of an American foreign policy based on democracy and human rights.
The US has indeed applied the principles learned from Wilson as far as approach to international peace is concerned.
References: Avrich, et. al (1991): The Anarchist Background, Princeton University Press Kennedy, D. (2005) “What ‘W’ Owes to ‘WW’: President Bush May Not Even Know It, but He Can Trace His View of the World to Woodrow Wilson, Who Defined a Diplomatic Destiny for America That We Can’t Escape. ” The Atlantic Monthly Vol: 295. Issue: 2. pp 36+.