This multi-day lesson is intended for use at the end of a unit on World War I, and is appropriate for students in US History, World History, or European History. It has been successfully used with students ranging in age from middle school through the AP level. In this activity, students are challenged to take on one of four different roles - Progressive Internationalists, Reservationists, Irreconcilables, or Neutral Congressmen - and to debate the virtues of American ratification of the Treaty of Versailles. One of the most historically significant aspects of this debate revolves around the question of whether the United States would in fact become a founding member of the League of Nations.
This activity includes recording sheets and teachers instructions, including how to time out the debate, based on a 35-40 minute class period. This activity can take anywhere from two to three class periods, and goes a long way towards helping students understand the historical complexity of the American decision to choose isolationism in the face of an increasingly dangerous globalized world following the end of World War I.