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TPS Quarterly

The Library of Congress > Teachers > TPS Program > TPS Quarterly > Learning Activity (Sec.)

Why did Congress Reject the League of Nations?


In this activity, students think like historians to understand arguments in favor of and against President Woodrow Wilson’s proposed League of Nations as part of the 1919 Congressional battle over the Treaty of Versailles. Intended for use within a larger unit of study about the end of World War I and its legacy, students practice historical thinking strategies as they read and listen to the speeches for insight into the Senate’s ultimate rejection of the League of Nations.


After completing this learning activity, students will be able to:

  • describe the historical context surrounding Wilson's League of Nations proposal;
  • recognize that the Senate ultimately rejected the League of Nations; and
  • use evidence from speeches delivered by Senators Gilbert Hitchcock and Henry Cabot Lodge to discuss the arguments for and against the League of Nations.

Time Required

Two class periods (90 minutes)

Recommended Grade Range



Government, Law; Presidents


U.S. History


Standards & Benchmarks

Historical Understanding

Standard 2. Understands the historical perspective

United States History

Standard 21. Understands the changing role of the United States in world affairs through World War I

Language Arts

Standard 7. (Reading) Uses reading skills and strategies to understand and interpret a variety of informational texts


Bradley Fogo and Abby Reisman, Ph.D. candidates at the Stanford University School of Education. For her dissertation, Abby directed the Reading Like a Historian Project in San Francisco.

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