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Wilsonianism or Wilsonian idealism describes a certain type of foreign policy advice. The term comes from the ideas and proposals of President Woodrow Wilson (1913–1921). He issued his famous Fourteen Points in January 1918 as a basis for ending World War I and promoting world peace. He was a leading advocate of the League of Nations to enable the international community to avoid wars and end hostile aggression. Wilsonianism is a form of liberal internationalism.[1]


Common principles that are often associated with "Wilsonianism" include:

Historian Joan Hoff writes, "What is 'normal' Wilsonianism remains contested today. For some, it is 'inspiring liberal internationalism' based on adherence to self-determination; for others, Wilsonianism is the exemplar of humanitarian intervention around the world,' making U.S. foreign policy a paragon of carefully defined and restrict use of force."[7] Amos Perlmutter defined Wilsonianism as simultaneously consisting of "liberal interventionism, self-determination, nonintervention, humanitarian intervention" oriented in support of collective security, open diplomacy, capitalism, American exceptionalism, and free and open borders, and opposed to revolution.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Stanley Hoffmann, "The Crisis of Liberal Internationalism, Foreign Policy, No. 98 (Spring, 1995), pp. 159–177.
  2. ^ Erez Manela, The Wilsonian Moment: Self-Determination and the International Origins of Anticolonial Nationalism (Oxford University Press, 2007), pp. 41-42.
  3. ^ Antonio Cassese, Self-Determination of Peoples: A Legal Reappraisal (Cambridge University Press, 1995), pp. 19-21.
  4. ^ "Woodrow Wilson and foreign policy". EDSITEment. National Endowment for the Humanities.
  5. ^ "Woodrow Wilson, Impact and Legacy". Miller Center. Retrieved 2018-01-07.
  6. ^ Lloyd E. Ambrosius (2002). Wilsonianism: Woodrow Wilson and His Legacy in American Foreign Relations. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 51.
  7. ^ a b Joan Hoff, A Faustian Foreign Policy from Woodrow Wilson to George W. Bush: Dreams of Perfectability (Cambridge University Press, 2007), p. 61.

Further reading[edit]