Robert Cecil, 1st Viscount Cecil of Chelwood
Edgar Algernon Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 1st Viscount Cecil of Chelwood, known as Lord Robert Cecil from 1868 to 1923, was a British lawyer and diplomat. He was one of the architects of the League of Nations and a defender of it, whose service to the organisation saw him awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1937. Cecil was born at Cavendish Square, the sixth child and third son of Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury, three times Prime Minister, Georgina, daughter of Sir Edward Hall Alderson, he was the brother of James Gascoyne-Cecil, 4th Marquess of Salisbury, Lord William Cecil, Lord Edward Cecil and Lord Quickswood and the cousin of Arthur Balfour. He was educated at home until he was thirteen and spent four years at Eton College, he claimed in his autobiography to have enjoyed his home education most. He studied law at University College, where he became a well-known debater. A first job was as private secretary to his father, when commencing in office as Prime Minister from 1886-88.
In 1887, he was called to the bar by the Inner Temple. He was fond of saying that his marriage to Lady Eleanor Lambton, daughter of George Frederick D'Arcy Lambton, 2nd Earl of Durham on 22 January 1889, was the cleverest thing he had done. From 1887 to 1906, Cecil practised civil law, including work in parliamentary practice. On 15 June 1899, he was appointed a Queen's Counsel. After the outbreak of the Second Boer War, he enrolled as a recruit in the Inns of Court Rifles in February 1900, but he never saw active service, he collaborated in writing a book, entitled Principles of Commercial Law. In 1910 he was appointed a member of the General Council of the Bar, a Bencher of the Inner Temple, he was a Justice of the Peace when he was raised the following year as Chairman of the Hertfordshire Quarter Sessions. At the 1906 general election, Cecil was elected as a Conservative Member of Parliament representing Marylebone East. Cecil was a convinced believer in free trade, opposing Joseph Chamberlain's agitation for Tariff Reform, denouncing it as "a rather sordid attempt to ally Imperialism with State assistance for the rich".
In February 1905 he compiled for party leader Arthur Balfour a memorandum on ‘The Attack on Unionist Free Trade Seats’ in which he quoted a letter to The Times by a member of the Tariff Reform League that stated they would oppose free trade candidates, whether Unionist or Liberal. Cecil argued. In January 1908 Cecil wrote to fellow Unionist Free Trader Arthur Elliot, saying that "To me, the greatest necessity of all is to preserve, if possible, a foothold for Free Trade within the Unionist party. For, if not, I and others who think like me, will be driven to imperil either free trade or other causes such as religious education, the House of Lords, the Union, which seem to us of equal importance". In March 1910 Cecil and his brother Lord Hugh, unsuccessfully appealed to Chamberlain that he should postpone advocating food taxes at the next election in order to concentrate on opposing Irish Home Rule, he did not contest the Marylebone seat in either of the general elections in 1910 as a result of the Tariff Reform controversy.
Instead he unsuccessfully contested Blackburn in the January election and Wisbech in the December election. In 1911 he won a by-election in Hitchin, Hertfordshire as an Independent Conservative and served as its MP until 1923. Fifty years old at the outbreak of the First World War and too old for military service, Cecil went to work for the Red Cross, he was made Vicar-General to the Archbishop of York, on account of his deep religious convictions and commitment to pacifism. Following the formation of the 1915 coalition government, he became Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs on 30 May 1915, on 16 June he was sworn of the Privy Council, promoted to Assistant Secretary in 1918-19, he served in this post until 10 January 1919, additionally serving in the cabinet as Minister of Blockade between 23 February 1916 and 18 July 1918. He was responsible for devising procedures to bring economic and commercial pressure against the enemy forcing them to choose between feeding their occupying military forces or their civilian population.
After the War, in 1919, he was made an Honorary Fellow, granted his MA of University College, Oxford, as well as an Honorary Doctorate of Civil Law, apt for a university chancellor. In September 1916, he wrote and circulated a ‘Memorandum on Proposals for Diminishing the Occasion of Future Wars’ in the Cabinet. Cecil noted the suffering and destruction of the war, along with the threat to European civilisation and the likelihood of postwar disputes, he urged an alternative to war as a means of settling international disputes and claimed that neither the destruction of German militarism nor a postwar settlement based on self-determination would guarantee peace. Cecil rejected compulsory arbitration but claimed a regular conference system would be unobjectionable. Peaceful procedures for settling disputes should be compulsory before there was any outbreak of fighting. Sanctions, including blockade, would be necessary to force countries to submit to peaceful procedures. If overwhelming naval and financial power could be combined in a peace system, "no modern State could resist its pressure".
He hoped that America might be willing to "join in organized economic action to preserve peace". He said that this was the "first document from which sprang British official advocacy of the League of Nations". In May 1917 Cecil circulated his ‘Proposals for Maintenance of Future Peace’ in which the signatories would agree to keep the postwar territorial settlement for five years, followed by a conference to consi
Turkish War of Independence
The Turkish War of Independence was fought between the Turkish National Movement and the proxies of the Allies – namely Greece on the Western Front, Armenia on the Eastern, France on the Southern and with them, the United Kingdom and Italy in Constantinople – after parts of the Ottoman Empire were occupied and partitioned following the Ottomans' defeat in World War I. Few of the occupying British and Italian troops had been deployed or engaged in combat; the Turkish National Movement in Anatolia culminated in the formation of a new Grand National Assembly by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and his colleagues. After the end of the Turkish–Armenian, Franco-Turkish, Greco-Turkish fronts, the Treaty of Sèvres was abandoned and the Treaties of Kars and Lausanne were signed; the Allies left Anatolia and Eastern Thrace, the Grand National Assembly of Turkey decided on the establishment of a Republic in Turkey, declared on 29 October 1923. With the establishment of the Turkish National Movement, the partitioning of the Ottoman Empire, the abolition of the sultanate, the Ottoman era and the Empire came to an end, with Atatürk's reforms, the Turks created the modern, secular nation-state of Turkey on the political front.
On 3 March 1924, the Ottoman caliphate was abolished and the last Caliph was exiled. On 30 October 1918, the Armistice of Mudros was signed between the Ottoman Empire and the Allies of World War I, bringing hostilities in the Middle Eastern theatre of World War I to a close; the treaty granted the Allies the right to occupy forts controlling the Straits of the Dardanelles and the Bosporus. Somerset Arthur Gough-Calthorpe—the British signatory of the Mudros Armistice—stated the Triple Entente′s public position that they had no intention to dismantle the government of the Ottoman Empire or place it under military occupation by "occupying Constantinople". However, dismantling the Ottoman government and partitioning the Ottoman Empire among the Allied nations had been an objective of the Entente since the start of the war. On 13 November 1918, a French brigade entered the city to begin the Occupation of Constantinople and its immediate dependencies, followed by a fleet consisting of British, French and Greek ships deploying soldiers on the ground the next day.
A wave of seizures took place in the following months by the Allies. On 14 November, joint Franco-Greek troops occupied the town of Uzunköprü in Eastern Thrace as well as the railway axis till the train station of Hadımköy near Çatalca on the outskirts of Constantinople. On 1 December, British troops based in Syria occupied Kilis. Beginning in December, French troops began successive seizures of Ottoman territory, including the towns of Antakya, Tarsus, Adana and Islahiye; the first bullet was fired by Mehmet Çavuş in Dörtyol against the French on 19 December 1918. On 19 January 1919, the Paris Peace Conference opened, a meeting of Allied nations that set the peace terms for the defeated Central Powers, including the Ottoman Empire; as a special body of the Paris Conference, "The Inter-Allied Commission on Mandates in Turkey" was established to pursue the secret treaties they had signed between 1915 and 1917. Among the objectives was a new Hellenic Empire based on the Megali Idea; this was promised by British Prime Minister David Lloyd George to Greece.
Italy sought control over the southern part of Anatolia under the Agreement of St.-Jean-de-Maurienne. France expected to exercise control over Hatay and Syria, wanted control over a portion of southeastern Anatolia based on the Sykes-Picot Agreement. France signed the Franco-Armenian Agreement and promised the realization of an Armenian state in the Mediterranean region in exchange to the French Armenian Legion. Meanwhile, Allied countries continued to lay claim to portions of the crumbling Ottoman Empire. British forces based in Syria occupied Maraş, Urfa and Birecik, while French forces embarked by gunboats and sent troops to the Black Sea ports of Zonguldak and Karadeniz Ereğli commanding Turkey's coal mining region. At the Paris Peace Conference, competing claims of Western Anatolia by Greek and Italian delegations led Greece to land the flagship of the Greek Navy at Smyrna, resulting in the Italian delegation walking out of the peace talks. On 30 April, Italy responded to the possible idea of Greek incorporation of Western Anatolia by sending a warship to Smyrna as a show of force against the Greek campaign.
A large Italian force landed in Antalya. With the Italian delegation absent from the Paris Peace talks, Britain was able to sway France in favour of Greece and the Conference authorized the landing of Greek troops on Anatolian territory; the Greek campaign of Western Anatolia began on 15 May 1919, as Greek troops began landing in Smyrna. For the city′s Muslim population, the day is marked by the "first bullet" fired by Hasan Tahsin at the Greek standard bearer at the head of the troops, the murder by bayonet coups of Miralay Fethi Bey for refusing to shout "Zito Venizelos" and the killing and wounding of unarmed Turkish soldiers in the city's principal casern, as well as of 300-400 civilians. Greek troops moved from Smyrna outwards, to towns on the Karaburun peninsula, Selçuk, situated a hundred kilometers south of Smyrna at a key location that commands the fertile Menderes River valley and Menemen and Sel
Vi Kyuin Wellington Koo was a Chinese statesman of the Republic of China. He was one of China's representatives at the Paris Peace Conference of 1919. Between October 1926 and June 1927, while serving as Minister of Foreign Affairs, Koo held the concurrent positions of acting Premier and interim President of the Republic of China. Koo was the only Chinese head of state known to use a Western name publicly. While his presidency was brief, his extraordinary lifespan of 97 years makes him the longest-lived person to have led China. Born in Shanghai in 1888, Koo attended Saint John's University and Columbia College, where he was a member of the Philolexian Society, a literary and debating club, graduated in 1908. In 1912 he received his Ph. D. in international law and diplomacy from Columbia University. Koo returned to China in 1912 to serve the new Republic of China as English Secretary to President Yuan Shikai. In 1915, Koo was made China's Minister to the United States and Cuba. In 1919, he was a member of the Chinese delegation to the Paris Peace Conference, led by Foreign Minister Lu Zhengxiang.
Before the Western powers and Japan, he demanded. He called for an end to imperialist institutions such as extraterritoriality, tariff controls, legation guards, lease holds; the Western powers refused his claims and the Chinese delegation at the Paris Peace Conference was the only nation that did not sign the Treaty of Versailles at the signing ceremony. Koo was involved in the formation of the League of Nations as China's first representative to the newly formed League. From 1922, Koo served successively as Finance Minister, he was twice Acting Premier, in 1924 and again in 1926 during a period of chaos in Beijing under Zhang Zuolin in 1926-7. Koo acted concurrently as Interim President, he served as Premier from January until June 1927, when Zhang organised a military government and Koo resigned. After the Northern Expedition toppled the government in Beijing in 1928, he was wanted for arrest by the new Nationalist government in Nanjing, but through Zhang Xueliang's mediation he was reconciled with the new government and returned to the diplomatic service.
He represented China at the League of Nations to protest the Japanese invasion of Manchuria. He served as the Chinese Ambassador to France from 1936 -- 1940. Afterwards, he was the Chinese Ambassador to the Court of St James's until 1946. In 1945, Koo was one of the founding delegates of the United Nations, he became the Chinese Ambassador to the United States and focused on maintaining the alliance between the Republic of China and the United States as the Kuomintang began losing to the Communists and had to retreat to Taiwan. Koo retired from the Chinese diplomatic service in 1956. In 1956 he became a judge of the International Court of Justice in The Hague, served as Vice-President of the Court during the final three years of his term. In 1967, he retired and moved to New York City, where he lived until his death in 1985. In 1908, Koo married Chang Jun-e, they divorced prior to 1912. Koo's second wife, Tang Pao-yueh "May", was the youngest daughter of the former Chinese prime minister Tang Shaoyi and a first cousin of the painter and actress Mai-Mai Sze.
Their marriage took place soon after Koo's return to China in 1912. She died in an influenza epidemic in 1918, they had two children: a son, Teh-chang Koo, a daughter, Patricia Koo. Koo's third wife was style icon Oei Hui-lan, she married Koo in Brussels, Belgium in 1921. She was married, in 1909, to British consular agent Beauchamp Stoker, by whom she had one son, before divorcing in 1920. Much admired for her adaptations of traditional Manchu fashion, which she wore with lace trousers and jade necklaces, Oei Hui-lan was the favorite daughter of Peranakan tycoon Majoor Oei Tiong Ham, the heiress of a prominent family of the Cabang Atas or the Chinese gentry of colonial Indonesia, she wrote two memoirs: Hui-Lan Koo: No Feast Lasts Forever. Koo had two sons with her: Jr. and Fu-chang Freeman Koo. On 3 September 1959, Koo married the widow of Clarence Kuangson Young, he had three stepdaughters from this marriage: Genevieve and Frances Loretta Young. Koo lived long enough to see two of his sons die before him.
He died surrounded by his family in the night of November 14, 1985, at the age of 97. Wellington Koo was survived by his fourth wife, two children, nineteen grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Dying older than both the 87-year old Qianlong Emperor, the 92-year old People's Republic paramount leader Deng Xiaoping and living Jiang Zemin, Koo holds the distinction of being the longest-lived person to lead China. Despite this, his last wife lived longer than he did, his last wife Juliana Koo died aged 111. Biography at Columbia Papers of Wellington Koo at the Rare Book and Manuscr
Count Makino Nobuaki was a Japanese statesman, active from the Meiji period through the Pacific War. Born to a samurai family in Kagoshima, Satsuma Domain, Makino was the second son of Ōkubo Toshimichi, but adopted into the Makino family at a early age. In 1871, at age 11, he accompanied Ōkubo on the Iwakura Mission to the United States as a student, attended school in Philadelphia. After he returned to Japan, he left without graduating. Makino entered the Foreign Ministry. Assigned to the Japanese London Embassy, he made the acquaintance of Itō Hirobumi. After serving as governor of Fukui Prefecture and Ibaraki Prefecture, Ambassador to the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Ambassador to Italy, he served as Minister of Education under the 1st Saionji Cabinet, as Minister of Agriculture and Commerce under the 2nd Saionji Cabinet, he was appointed to serve on the Privy Council. Under the 1st Yamagata Cabinet, he was appointed Foreign Minister. Makino aligned his policies with Itō Hirobumi and with Saionji Kinmochi, was considered one of the early leaders of the Liberalism movement in Japan.
He was appointed to be one of Japan's ambassador plenipotentiaries to the Paris Peace Conference of 1919, headed by the former Prime Minister Saionji. Makino was de facto chief. Makino and his delegation put forth a racial equality proposal at the conference. In 1907, Makino elevated in rank to danshaku under the kazoku peerage system. In 1913, Makino became Minister of Foreign Affairs. On September 20, 1920, he was awarded the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun with Paulownia Flowers. In February 1921, he elevated in rank to shishaku. Behind the scenes, he strove to improve Anglo-Japanese and Japanese-American relations, he shared Saionji Kinmochi's efforts to shield the Emperor from direct involvement in political affairs. In 1925, he was appointed Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal of Japan, he was elevated in the title to hakushaku. Although he relinquished his positions, his relations with Emperor Shōwa remained good, he still had much power and influence behind the scenes; this made him a target for the militarists, he narrowly escaped assassination at his villa in Yugawara during the February 26 Incident in 1936.
He continued to be an advisor and exert a moderating influence on the Emperor until the start of World War II. Makino was the first president of the Nihon Ki-in Go Society, a fervent player of the game of go. After the war, his reputation as an "old liberalist" gave him high credibility, the politician Ichirō Hatoyama attempted to recruit him to the Liberal Party as its chairman. However, Makino declined for reasons of age, he died in 1949, his grave is at the Aoyama Cemetery in Tokyo. Noted post-war Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida was Makino's son-in-law. One of his grandchildren Ken `; the former Prime Minister, Tarō Asō, is Makino's great-grandson. His great-granddaughter, Nobuko Asō, married Prince Tomohito of Mikasa, a first cousin of Emperor Akihito. In addition, Ijūin Hikokichi, the former Minister of Foreign Affairs, was the brother-in-law of Makino. 1925: Grand Cordon Order of Leopold. Agawa, Hiroyuki; the Reluctant Admiral: Yamamoto and the Imperial Navy. Kodansha International. ISBN 4-7700-2539-4 Beasley, W. G. Japanese Imperialism 1894–1945.
Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-822168-1 Makino, Nobuaki. Makino Nobuaki nikki. Chūō Kōronsha. ISBN 4-12-001977-2 Media related to Makino Nobuaki at Wikimedia Commons
Organisation of the League of Nations
The League of Nations was established with three main constitutional organs: the Assembly. The two essential wings of the League were the Permanent Court of International Justice and the International Labour Organization; the relations between the Assembly and the Council were not explicitly defined, their competencies, with a few exceptions, were much the same. Each body might deal with any matter within the sphere of competence of the League or affecting the peace in the world. Particular questions or tasks might be referred either to the Assembly. Reference might be passed on from one body to another; the Permanent Secretariat, established at the seat of the League at Geneva, comprised a body of experts in various spheres under the direction of the General Secretary. The principal Sections of the Secretariat were: Political; each Section was responsible for all official secretarial work related to its particular subject and prepared and organized all meetings and conferences held in that connection.
The staff of the League's secretariat was responsible for preparing the agenda for the Council and Assembly and publishing reports of the meetings and other routine matters acting as the civil service for the League. The secretariat was considered to be too small to handle all of the League's administrative affairs. For example, the total number of officials classed as members of the Secretariat was 75 in September 1924; the total staff, including all the clerical services, comprised about 400 persons. In general, the League documents may be classified into the following categories: document on public sale, documents not on public sale, classified, e.g. confidential and secret. The specific feature of the documents emanating from the League of Nations was their classification according to the persons they were addressed to and not according to their subjects; the Assembly consisted of representatives of all Members of the League. Each state was allowed up to one vote; the Assembly had its sessions at Geneva and met on yearly basis on the first Monday of September according to the Rules of Procedure of the Assembly, adopted at Its Eleventh Meeting, 30 November 1920.
A special session of the Assembly might be summoned at the request of a Member, provided a majority of the Members concurred. The special functions of the Assembly included the admission of new Members, the periodical election on non-permanent Members of the Council, the election with the Council of the judges of the Permanent Court, the control of the budget. In practice the Assembly had become the general directing force of League activities; the Plenary Meetings of the First Assembly were held from 15 November to 18 December in Geneva, Switzerland. At the opening session, there were 41 states. Six states were admitted during the meetings and were represented during the session. In total, thirty one plenary meeting were held; the principal questions during the first session were: organization of the Secretariat, establishment of a new Organization to deal with Health question, new organism to deal with Communication and transit, a new Economic and Financial Organization, admission of new Member states, relations between the Council and the Assembly, nomination of the non-permanent Members of the Council, establishment of the Permanent Court of International Justice, the first and second budgets of the League, conflict between Poland and Soviet Russia, repatriation of prisoners of war, etc.
HE M. Paul Hymans, Belgium M. Giuseppe Motta, Switzerland The Assembly at its Fifth Plenary Meeting elected the six Vice-Presidents. Thirty nine states have taken part in the ballot, so the required majority was 20 votes; the sixth Vice-President was elected at a second ballot with 22 votes. The Rt Hon Arthur Balfour, British Empire; the Hon. Sir Eric Drummond The General Committee of the Assembly was constituted of the President and the 12 Vice-Presidents with Sir Eric Drummond, the Secretary-General. Constitutional questions Chairman: The Right Hon. A. J. Balfour Technical Organisations Chairman: H. E. M Tittoni Permanent Court of International Justice Chairman: H. E. M. Léon Bourgeois Organisation of the Secretariat and Finances of the League Chairman: H. E. M. Quinones de Léon Admission of New Members into the League Chairman: H. E. M. Huneeus Gana Mandates Questions and the Economic Weapon Chairman: H. E. M. Branting The League Council acted as a type of executive body directing the Assembly's business.
The Council began with four permanent members and four non-permanent members which were elected by the Assembly for a three-year period. The first four non-permanent members were Belgium, Brazil and Spain; the United States was meant to be the fifth permanent member, but the US Senate voted on 19 March 1920 against the ratification of the Treaty of Versailles, thus preventing American participation in the League. The first session of the Council was held in Paris at the Ministry of foreign Affairs on 16 January 1920; the following members of the League were represented: Belgium, The British empire, Greece, Italy and Spain. The French re
Article 231 of the Treaty of Versailles
Article 231 known as the War Guilt Clause, was the opening article of the reparations section of the Treaty of Versailles, which ended the First World War between the German Empire and the Allied and Associated Powers. The article did not use the word "guilt" but it served as a legal basis to compel Germany to pay reparations for the war. Article 231 was one of the most controversial points of the treaty, it specified: "The Allied and Associated Governments affirm and Germany accepts the responsibility of Germany and her allies for causing all the loss and damage to which the Allied and Associated Governments and their nationals have been subjected as a consequence of the war imposed upon them by the aggression of Germany and her allies."Germans viewed this clause as a national humiliation, forcing Germany to accept full responsibility for causing the war. German politicians were vocal in their opposition to the article in an attempt to generate international sympathy, while German historians worked to undermine the article with the objective of subverting the entire treaty.
The Allied leaders were surprised at the German reaction. The article, with the signatory's name changed, was included in the treaties signed by Germany's allies who did not view the clause with the same disdain as the Germans did. American diplomat John Foster Dulles—one of the two authors of the article—later regretted the wording used, believing it further aggravated the German people; the historical consensus is that responsibility or guilt for the war was not attached to the article. Rather, the clause was a prerequisite to allow a legal basis to be laid out for the reparation payments that were to be made. Historians have highlighted the unintended damage created by the clause, which caused anger and resentment amongst the German population. On 28 June 1914 the Bosnian-Serb Gavrilo Princip assassinated the heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, in the name of Serbian nationalism; this caused a diplomatic crisis, resulting in Austria-Hungary declaring war on Serbia and sparking the First World War.
Due to a variety of reasons, within weeks the major powers of Europe—divided into two alliances known as the Central Powers and the Triple Entente—went to war. As the conflict progressed, additional countries from around the globe became drawn into the conflict on both sides. Fighting would rage across Europe, the Middle East and Asia for the next four years. On 8 January 1918, United States President Woodrow Wilson issued a statement that became known as the Fourteen Points. In part, this speech called for the Central Powers to withdraw from the territories they had occupied, for the creation of a Polish state, the redrawing of Europe's borders along ethnic lines, the formation of a League of Nations. During the northern-hemisphere autumn of 1918, the Central Powers began to collapse; the German military suffered a decisive defeat on the Western Front, while on the Home Front the Imperial German Navy mutinied, prompting uprisings in Germany which became known as the German Revolution. The German government attempted to obtain a peace settlement based on the Fourteen Points, maintained it was on this basis that Germany surrendered.
Following negotiations, the Allied Powers and Germany signed an armistice, which came into effect on 11 November while German forces were still positioned in France and Belgium. On 18 January 1919 the Paris Peace Conference began; the conference aimed to establish peace between the war's belligerents and to establish the post-war world. The Treaty of Versailles resulting from the conference dealt with Germany; this treaty, along with the others that were signed during the conference, each took their name from the suburb of Paris where the signings took place. While 70 delegates from 26 nations participated in the Paris negotiations, representatives from Germany were barred from attending, nominally over fears that a German delegation would attempt to play one country off against the other and unfairly influence the proceedings; the Americans and French all differed on the issue of reparations settlement. The Western Front had been fought in France, that countryside had been scarred in the fighting.
France's most industrialized region in the north-east had been laid to waste during the German retreat. Hundreds of mines and factories were destroyed along with railroads and villages. Georges Clemenceau, the Prime Minister of France, thought it appropriate that any just peace required Germany to pay reparations for the damage they had caused, he saw reparations as a means to ensure that Germany could not again threaten France and as well to weaken the German ability to compete with France's industrialization. Reparations would go towards the reconstruction costs in other countries, such as Belgium directly affected by the war. British Prime Minister David Lloyd George opposed harsh reparations in favour of a less crippling reparations settlement so that the German economy could remain a viable economic power and British trading partner, he furthermore argued that reparations should include war pensions for disabled veterans and allowances to be paid to war widows, which would reserve a larger share of the reparations for the British Empire.
Wilson opposed these positions, was adamant that there be no indemnity imposed upon Germany. During the peace conference the Commission on the Responsibility of the Authors of the War and on Enforcement of Penalties was established to examine the background of the war; the Commission reasoned that the "war was premeditated by the Central Powers... and was the result of acts deliberately committed to make it unavoidable", concluding t
President of the United States
The president of the United States is the head of state and head of government of the United States of America. The president directs the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces. In contemporary times, the president is looked upon as one of the world's most powerful political figures as the leader of the only remaining global superpower; the role includes responsibility for the world's most expensive military, which has the second largest nuclear arsenal. The president leads the nation with the largest economy by nominal GDP; the president possesses international hard and soft power. Article II of the Constitution establishes the executive branch of the federal government, it vests the executive power of the United States in the president. The power includes the execution and enforcement of federal law, alongside the responsibility of appointing federal executive, diplomatic and judicial officers, concluding treaties with foreign powers with the advice and consent of the Senate.
The president is further empowered to grant federal pardons and reprieves, to convene and adjourn either or both houses of Congress under extraordinary circumstances. The president directs the foreign and domestic policies of the United States, takes an active role in promoting his policy priorities to members of Congress. In addition, as part of the system of checks and balances, Article I, Section 7 of the Constitution gives the president the power to sign or veto federal legislation; the power of the presidency has grown since its formation, as has the power of the federal government as a whole. Through the Electoral College, registered voters indirectly elect the president and vice president to a four-year term; this is the only federal election in the United States, not decided by popular vote. Nine vice presidents became president by virtue of a president's intra-term resignation. Article II, Section 1, Clause 5 sets three qualifications for holding the presidency: natural-born U. S. citizenship.
The Twenty-second Amendment precludes any person from being elected president to a third term. In all, 44 individuals have served 45 presidencies spanning 57 full four-year terms. Grover Cleveland served two non-consecutive terms, so he is counted twice, as both the 22nd and 24th president. Donald Trump of New York is the current president of the United States, he assumed office on January 20, 2017. In July 1776, during the American Revolutionary War, the Thirteen Colonies, acting jointly through the Second Continental Congress, declared themselves to be 13 independent sovereign states, no longer under British rule. Recognizing the necessity of coordinating their efforts against the British, the Continental Congress began the process of drafting a constitution that would bind the states together. There were long debates on a number of issues, including representation and voting, the exact powers to be given the central government. Congress finished work on the Articles of Confederation to establish a perpetual union between the states in November 1777 and sent it to the states for ratification.
Under the Articles, which took effect on March 1, 1781, the Congress of the Confederation was a central political authority without any legislative power. It could make its own resolutions and regulations, but not any laws, could not impose any taxes or enforce local commercial regulations upon its citizens; this institutional design reflected how Americans believed the deposed British system of Crown and Parliament ought to have functioned with respect to the royal dominion: a superintending body for matters that concerned the entire empire. The states were out from under any monarchy and assigned some royal prerogatives to Congress; the members of Congress elected a President of the United States in Congress Assembled to preside over its deliberation as a neutral discussion moderator. Unrelated to and quite dissimilar from the office of President of the United States, it was a ceremonial position without much influence. In 1783, the Treaty of Paris secured independence for each of the former colonies.
With peace at hand, the states each turned toward their own internal affairs. By 1786, Americans found their continental borders besieged and weak and their respective economies in crises as neighboring states agitated trade rivalries with one another, they witnessed their hard currency pouring into foreign markets to pay for imports, their Mediterranean commerce preyed upon by North African pirates, their foreign-financed Revolutionary War debts unpaid and accruing interest. Civil and political unrest loomed. Following the successful resolution of commercial and fishing disputes between Virginia and Maryland at the Mount Vernon Conference in 1785, Virginia called for a trade conference between all the states, set for September 1786 in Annapolis, with an aim toward resolving further-reaching interstate commercial antagonisms; when the convention failed for lack of attendance due to suspicions among most of the other states, Alexander Hamilton led the Annapolis delegates in a call for a convention to offer revisions to the Articles, to be held the next spring in Philadelphia.
Prospects for the next convention appeared bleak until James Madison and Edmund Randolph succeeded in securing George Washington's attendance to Philadelphia as a delegate for Virginia. When the Constitutional Convention convened in May 1787, the 12 state delegations in attendance (Rh