Standing in front of George Washington's home at Mount Vernon one century ago today, President Woodrow Wilson recalled the ideals of the nation's founders, most prominently that of liberty, as he talked about the Great War that had engulfed Europe.
"We here in America believe our participation in this present war to be only the fruitage of what they planted," Wilson said on July 4, 1918. "Our case differs from theirs only in this, that it is our inestimable privilege to concert with men out of every nation what shall make not only the liberties of America secure but the liberties of every other people as well. We are happy in the thought that we are permitted to do what they would have done had they been in our place."
The U.S. had officially entered World War I in April 1917, but after a desperate mobilization effort, it wasn't until early 1918 that U.S. troops joined the fight in earnest and began to help turn the tide of the war. By July 4, 1918, the Allies were beginning to rally. In Paris that year, a massive celebration took place to honor the Americans, with Parisians packing the streets to get a glimpse of their allies.
Back at Mount Vernon, Wilson took the opportunity to say there would be "no compromise" when it came to the fight against tyranny.
"There can be but one issue. The settlement must be final. There can be no compromise. No halfway decision would be tolerable. No halfway decision is conceivable," he said. "These are the ends for which the associated peoples of the world are fighting and which must be conceded them before there can be peace..."
Read Wilson's full remarks here:
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