There were other complications no less specific. The United States was compelled by force of circumstances to adopt a Russian policy. The government of the Czar had been overthrown by a liberal revolution, which in turn had been succeeded by an extreme, communist “dictatorship.” The Bolsheviki, or majority faction of the socialists, had obtained control of the national council of peasants, workingmen, and soldiers, called the soviet, and inaugurated a radical regime. They had made peace with Germany in March, 1918. Thereupon the United States joined England, France, and Japan in an unofficial war upon them. After the general settlement at Paris in 1919, our government, while withdrawing troops from Siberia and Archangel, continued in its refusal to recognize the Bolshevists or to permit unhampered trade with them. President Wilson repeatedly denounced them as the enemies of civilization and undertook to lay down for all countries the principles which should govern intercourse with Russia.
Further international complications were created in connection with the World War, wholly apart from the terms of peace or the League of Nations. The United States had participated in a general European conflict which changed the boundaries of countries, called into being new nations, and reduced the power and territories of the vanquished. Accordingly, it was bound to face the problem of how far it was prepared to cooeperate with the victors in any settlement of Europe’s difficulties. By no conceivable process, therefore, could America be disentangled from the web of world affairs. Isolation, if desirable, had become impossible. Within three hundred years from the founding of the tiny settlements at Jamestown and Plymouth, America, by virtue of its institutions, its population, its wealth, and its commerce, had become first among the nations of the earth. By moral obligations and by practical interests its fate was thus linked with the destiny of all mankind.
SUMMARY OF DEMOCRACY AND THE WORLD WAR
The astounding industrial progress that characterized the period following the Civil War bequeathed to the new generation many perplexing problems connected with the growth of trusts and railways, the accumulation of great fortunes, the increase of poverty in the industrial cities, the exhaustion of the free land, and the acquisition of dominions in distant seas. As long as there was an abundance of land in the West any able-bodied man with initiative and industry could become an independent farmer. People from the cities and immigrants from Europe had always before them that gateway to property and prosperity. When the land was all gone, American economic conditions inevitably became more like those of Europe.