Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Rejection of the League of Nations

Chet Geering


Students will be able to process a variety of information on the reasons for the U.S.'s rejection of the League of Nations. They will be asked to discuss the material, as well as completing a set of questions on the subject.


The student understands significant events leading up to the United States involvement in World War I and the political, social, and economic results of that conflict in Europe and the United States.


-WORLD HISTORY THE HUMAN EXPERIENCE. New York: Glencoe McGraw-Hill, 2001. (or comparable text)
- Access to copy machine
- Chalk
- Chalkboard
- Handout: List of questions on the League of Nations (See attached file)


1. Read text Chapter 28 (or appropriate chapter).
2. Complete material on World War I first.
3. Look through the procedure listing and make sure you are familiar with the terms listed within.
4. Make class copies of handout with questions. (See attached file.)


1. Review with the students the causes and the results of World War I.
2. Put student responses on the board. These responses should include the following: a system of alliances and treaties, nationalism, militarism, imperialism, yellow journalism, rivalries, the assassination of Arch Duke Ferdinand, sinking of the Lusitania, Zimmerman Telegram, nationalism, and the resumption of unrestricted submarine warfare by Germany.
3. Ask students to break each reason for war into one of the following categories: political, social, and economic. Some responses may fit more than one category.
4. Have class discussion of these responses.
5. Ask students, -In your opinion did the U.S. have just cause to enter World War I?-
6. Ask students, -What was the League of Nations?-
7. Ask students, -What was the goal of the League of Nations?-
8. Put the responses to items 6 and 7 on the board.
9. Discuss the student responses.
10. Ask students, -What branch of our government must ratify all treaties made with other nations?-
11. Ask students, -Why did the U.S. reject the League of Nations?- These answers should include the following: President Wilson was too partisan with the delegation he took to Paris, the U.S. Senate was worried it would loose control of American Foreign Policy, the U.S. Senate wants to maintain U.S. political independence, and the people of the U.S. were tired of war. The U.S. was isolated by two great oceans, and the majority of the people of this country just were not interested in the affairs of far off places.
12. Ask students, -Which U.S. Senate was the strongest opponent to the League of Nations?-
13. Discuss student responses. Since many students will jump on the band wagon, it is important that the teacher play the devilís advocate to whatever opinion the students present. This only needs to be done for a short time in order to make the students fully defend their opinions.
14. Ask the students, -What did President Wilson do when he learned that the Senate would not support the League of Nations?-
15. Ask students, -Did the U.S. ever join the League of Nations?-
16. Ask students, -Was the League of Nations affected since the U.S. did not join?-
17. Ask students, -The League of Nations was the forerunner to what international organization today?-
18. Once the discussion has ended, assign the questions that are enclosed.
19. Teacher evaluates short responses to questions.


1. Students will be graded on their answers to the series of short answer questions provided.
2. The teacher can also informally evaluate the students by encouraging class participation and discussion by as many students as possible.
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