Ohio History Journal

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Between "America First" and

"All-Out" Internationalism: The

Fulbright Resolution and Ohio

Republican John M. Vorys




In the U.S. House of Representatives on June 16, 1943, Congressman

John M. Vorys interrupted a floor debate on domestic programs to present the

Fulbright Resolution. Passed by the House in September 1943, the

Fulbright Resolution was during the Second World War the first official en-

dorsement of permanent U.S. participation in a collective security arrange-

ment. The resolution highlighted growing public support for a successor to

the League of Nations, and thus represented a significant step toward forma-

tion of the United Nations. A Republican from isolationist Ohio, John

Vorys had opposed America's political involvement in Europe in the years

before Pearl Harbor. Now, he stood before the House on his forty-seventh

birthday and publicly reversed course, arguing that the United States should

maintain strong commitments overseas, including Europe, even after the

Second World War ended.

Vorys' action placed him in the forefront of a crucial shift in the foreign

policy attitudes of conservative Republicans. Prior to World War II,

Republican isolationists, often from the midwestern states, suspected foreign

political and military involvement. They contended that overseas entangle-

ment would erode American freedom of action and portended for the United

States higher taxes, deficit spending, an imperial presidency, and garrison

state militarism. World War II and the ensuing cold war, however, led



Jeffery C. Livingston is Assistant Professor of History at California State University, Chico.

He would like to thank Robert Freeman Smith, Nelson L. Dawson, Donald Platt, Kenneth J.

Bindas, Craig Houston, Robert Cohen, and Michael Magliari for reading and commenting on

drafts of this article.



1. For the significance of the Fulbright Resolution, see Robert A. Divine, Second Chance:

The Triumph of Internationalism During World War II (New York, 1967), 141-45; and Philip J.

Briggs, "Congress and Collective Security: The Resolutions of 1943," World Affairs, 132

(March, 1970), 332-44; reprinted in Briggs, Making American Foreign Policy: President-

Congress Relations from the Second World War to Vietnam (Lanham, Md., 1991), 19-38. For

Vorys' remarks, see 16 June 1943, Congressional Record, 77th Cong., 1st sess., 5943-44.

Congressional Record hereafter referred to as CR.