Due to a special event, on Wednesday, July 8, there will be no tours of the U.S. Capitol after 11 a.m. Emancipation Hall and Exhibition Hall in the Capitol Visitor Center will be unavailable all day. While reservations prior to 11 a.m. will be honored, same-day passes will not be available. The Capitol Visitor Center will close at noon except for individuals on official business and those going to the House and Senate Galleries.

A Costly Failure to Consult 1919-1920

President Woodrow Wilson sailed to Europe to negotiate the Treaty of Versailles, setting peace terms concluding World War I and establishing the League of Nations. He failed to make peace with opponents back home. The Senate, exercising its constitutional duty to provide “advice and consent,” twice rejected the treaty.

The Democratic president had not consulted key lawmakers in the Republican-controlled Senate—particularly Henry Cabot Lodge of Massachusetts, the powerful Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee. Senator Lodge offered 14 amendments to Wilson’s treaty. The president refused to compromise. Instead, Wilson embarked on a national speaking tour to win public support. While traveling, however, he suffered a physical collapse, which led to a paralyzing stroke. Without Wilson’s leadership, the treaty went down to defeat in the Senate, and America never joined the League of Nations.

History of Congress and the Capitol

The Senate 1913-1945

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Senators assemble outside the...
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Senators assemble outside the Capitol for a ceremony in September 1918. The Senate would soon become embroiled in a bitter debate over ratification of the Treaty of Versailles.

Senators assemble outside the Capitol for a ceremony in September 1918. The Senate would soon become embroiled in a bitter debate over ratification of the Treaty of Versailles.

U.S. Senate Historical Office

Senators assemble outside the Capitol for a ceremony in September 1918. The Senate would soon become embroiled in a bitter debate over ratification of the Treaty of Versailles.

Senators assemble outside the Capitol for a ceremony in September 1918. The Senate would soon become embroiled in a bitter debate over ratification of the Treaty of Versailles.

U.S. Senate Historical Office

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