Woodrow Wilson’s presidential administration (1913-1921) was marked not only by America’s participation in World War I, but also by numerous armed interventions by the United States in other countries. Spanning the globe, these actions included the years-long occupations of Haiti and the Dominican Republic, a border war with Mexico, and the use of Marines guarding American citizens during unrest in Chinese cities. In Woodrow Wilson’s Wars, author Mark Benbow examines what these American policy decisions and military adventures reveal of Wilson as commander-in-chief, and the powers and duties of the office.
Wilson tended to let his cabinet officials operate their own departments as they wished as long as their actions did not contradict his overall policies. However, as regards foreign policy, Wilson took an active role overseeing American diplomats. His policy toward the military followed a similar pattern, though sometimes military commanders’ actions. affected Wilson’s diplomatic goals. Benbow focuses on those conflicts between military reality, the pragmatic needs of policy, and the larger goals of crafting a lasting foreign policy.
Written by Mark E. Benbow, Arlington Historical Society
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