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Sunday, September 15, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

100 years ago in Spokane: Crowds gather to hear President Wilson promote League of Nations

Huge crowds lined the streets as President Wilson and the First Lady paraded through downtown Spokane. When Wilson arrived at the Spokane Armory, all 4,500 seats were taken and as many as 2,000 more people stood outside on the street. (Spokane Daily Chronicle archive)
Huge crowds lined the streets as President Wilson and the First Lady paraded through downtown Spokane. When Wilson arrived at the Spokane Armory, all 4,500 seats were taken and as many as 2,000 more people stood outside on the street. (Spokane Daily Chronicle archive)

“From the throats of thousands from the panhandle of Idaho and eastern Washington, went up a great cheer,” the Spokane Daily Chronicle reported, because President Woodrow Wilson paid a visit to Spokane and Coeur d’Alene.

Huge crowds lined the streets as President Wilson and the first lady paraded through downtown Spokane. When Wilson arrived at the Spokane Armory, all 4,500 seats were taken and as many as 2,000 more people stood outside on the street.

In speeches in both Spokane and Coeur d’Alene, Wilson preached “the gospel of the League of Nations,” which he expounded with “energy and enthusiasm,” the Chronicle said.

“If America does not enter with all her soul into this new world arrangement, progressives might as well go out of business,” Wilson told the crowd. “Because there is going to be universal disorder, as there is now universal unrest.”

Wilson was aware that he was entering an anti-League of Nations stronghold. The Senate’s opposition to the League of Nations was led by Spokane’s U.S. Sen. Miles Poindexter and Idaho’s Sen. William Borah.

“I must confess that I have been amazed that there are so many in responsible positions who are opposed to to the ratification of the treaty of peace with Germany altogether,” Wilson said. “… It is natural that a world settlement – for it is nothing less – should give occasion for a great difference of opinion with regard to the particular features of it; but I must admit that it annoys me that there should be any who should propose that the arrangement should be rejected altogether.”

The enthusiastic crowds were apparently on his side, however. They gave him many ovations – and the Chronicle reported Wilson was “all smiles” from the minute he stepped out of his train car.

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