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President Woodrow Wilson’s effort to win support for ratification of the Versailles Treaty, by holding a White House meeting with influential senators, failed in August 1919. He then decided to go over the politicians' heads and appeal to the electorate, in the hope that a public outcry would save the agreement.Wilson's wife and close advisors became convinced that the president was exhausted by travel and long work days. Huge crowds gathered and wildly cheered the speeches in scenes reminiscent of Wilson’s welcome in the European capitals earlier in the year.The president’s offensive came to an abrupt halt on September 25 in Pueblo, Colorado. The exhausted Wilson collapsed during his speech, suffering either a mild stroke or a nervous breakdown.The train immediately headed back to Washington, where Wilson, against the advice of his doctors, insisted on returning to work. For the next seven months, Wilson was essentially cut off from direct contact with the outside world. Any hope that the treaty would be salvaged was dashed in the resulting leadership vacuum.
See also Wilson's Search for Peace.