At Kansas City, Mo., February 2, 1916 (The Western Prepardness Tour)


At Kansas City, Mo., February 2, 1916 (The Western Prepardness Tour)


Wilson, Neutrality, Arms Growth, Preparedness


In his address while on the Western Preparedness Tour, Wilson says that the United States should stay out of World War I, but must prepare to defend itself if an attack or other event making it necessary should occur. He discusses the arguments made at the time for and against being merely prepared. This is something that Roosevelt is extremely upset about and makes his displeasure known in other sources in this collection.


Woodrow Wilson


The Review of Reviews Corporation


February 2, 1916


Wilson, Woodrow, The Messages and Papers of Woodrow Wilson: Vol 1, (New York: The Review of Reviews Corporation, 1924), 200-208.


Written copy of address given by Wilson




United States, Western Hemisphere, Kansas City


I have come out to ask you what there was behind me in this task... It is necessary, my fellow citizens, that I should ask you this question, because I do not know how long the mere word and insistence of your Government will prevail to maintain your honor and the dignity and power of the Nation. there may come a time- I pray God it may never come, but it may, in spite of everything we do, come upon us, and come of a sudden- when I shall have to ask: "I have had my say; who stands back of me? Where is the force by which the majesty and right of the United States are to be maintained and asserted?" I take it that there may in your own conviction come a time when that might and force must be vindicated and asserted. You are not willing that what your Government says should be ignored.


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Woodrow Wilson, “At Kansas City, Mo., February 2, 1916 (The Western Prepardness Tour),” Inbetween Peoples, accessed August 6, 2020,