— Calvin Coolidge American politician, 30th president of the United States (in office from 1923 to 1929) 1872 - 1933
Context: Our people were influenced by many motives to undertake to carry on this gigantic conflict, but we went in and came out singularly free from those questionable causes and results which have often characterized other wars. We were not moved by the age-old antagonisms of racial jealousies and hatreds. We were not seeking to gratify the ambitions of any reigning dynasty. We were not inspired by trade and commercial rivalries. We harbored no imperialistic designs. We feared no other country. We coveted no territory. But the time came when we were compelled to defend our own property and protect the rights and lives of our own citizens. We believed, moreover, that those institutions which we cherish with a supreme affection, and which lie at the foundation of our whole scheme of human relationship, the right of freedom, of equality, of self-government, were all in jeopardy. We thought the question was involved of whether the people of the earth were to rule or whether they were to be ruled. We thought that we were helping to determine whether the principle of despotism or the principle of liberty should be the prevailing standard among the nations. Then, too, our country all came under the influence of a great wave of idealism. The crusading spirit was aroused. The cause of civilization, the cause of humanity, made a compelling appeal. No doubt there were other motives, but these appear to me the chief causes which drew America into the World War.