President Woodrow Wilson’s Joint Address to Congress
Listen to President Woodrow Wilson’s Joint Address to Congress and follow along with the text on this page.
Transcript of Joint Address to Congress Leading to a Declaration of War Against Germany (1917) by Woodrow Wilson is in the Public Domain .
Wilson’s joint address to Congress Leading to a Declaration of War Against Germany
April 2, 1917
“It is a distressing and oppressive duty, Gentlemen of the Congress, which I have performed in thus addressing you. There are, it may be many months of fiery trial and sacrifice ahead of us. It is a fearful thing to lead this great peaceful people into war, into the most terrible and disastrous of all wars, civilization itself seeming to be in the balance.
“But the right is more precious than peace, and we shall fight for the things which we have always carried nearest our hearts, for democracy, for the right of those who submit to authority to have a voice in their own Governments, for the rights and liberties of small nations, for a universal dominion of right by such a concert of free peoples as shall bring peace and safety to all nations and make the world itself at last free. To such a task we can dedicate our Eves and our fortunes, every thing that we are and everything that we have, with the pride of those who know that the day has come when America is privileged to spend her blood and her might for the principles that gave her birth and happiness and the peace which she has treasured. God helping her, she can do no other.”