Failure to recognize that the American is at heart an idealist is to lack understanding of our national character.
ficient reason for the abandonment of the Washingtonian policy is the furtherance of the object for which it was inaugurated, the advance of democracy. And we had established the precedent, with Spain and Mexico, that the Republic shall engage in no war of imperialistic conquest. We war only in behalf of, or in defence of, democracy.
Before the entrance of America, however, the issues of the European War were by no means clear cut along democratic lines. What kind of democracy were the allies fighting for? Nowhere and at no time had it been defined by any of their statesmen. On the contrary, the various allied governments had entered into compacts for the transference of territory in the event of victory; and had even, by the offer of rewards, sought to play one small nation against another. This secret diplomacy of bargains, of course, was a European heritage, the result of an imperialistic environment which the American did not understand, and from which he was happily free. Its effect on France i