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Wilsonianism or Wilsonian are words used to describe a certain type of ideological perspective on foreign policy. The term comes from the ideology of United States President Woodrow Wilson and his famous Fourteen Points that he believed would help create world peace if implemented. Wilsonianism is a form of liberal internationalism.[1] Wilson learned from American history and applied that knowledge to his international relations. Wilson's principles expressed the values of democracy and capitalism.[2]


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."[8] 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.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Stanley Hoffmann, "The Crisis of Liberal Internationalism, Foreign Policy, No. 98 (Spring, 1995), pp. 159–177.
  2. ^ Ambrosius, Lloyd (2002). Wilsonianism. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 1, 22. ISBN 1-4039-6009-7.
  3. ^ Erez Manela, The Wilsonian Moment: Self-Determination and the International Origins of Anticolonial Nationalism (Oxford University Press, 2007), pp. 41-42.
  4. ^ Antonio Cassese, Self-Determination of Peoples: A Legal Reappraisal (Cambridge University Press, 1995), pp. 19-21.
  5. ^ "Woodrow Wilson and foreign policy". EDSITEment. National Endowment for the Humanities.
  6. ^ "Woodrow Wilson, Impact and Legacy". Miller Center. Retrieved 2018-01-07.
  7. ^ Lloyd E. Ambrosius (2002). Wilsonianism: Woodrow Wilson and His Legacy in American Foreign Relations. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 51.
  8. ^ 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]