Throughout US history, many Americans have been reluctant to get involved in international affairs, hoping to avoid the wars & problems of the Old World. After the Pearl Harbor attacks brought the USA into World War II, the isolationist mentality quickly changed, & the Americans co-founded & joined the United Nations to preserve world peace after the war. But isolationist sentiments soon re-emerged in the form of suspicion of the UN, particularly among Midwestern politicians like Ohio Republican John Bricker. Senator Bricker proposed a constitutional amendment designed to limit the power of international treaties & reduce the president's power to make executive agreements. It looked like the proposed Bricker bill would easily pass until President Dwight Eisenhower came out against it. Instead, the fate of this anti-internationalist amendment would depend upon the single vote of an (allegedly) drunken US Senator during February 1954. This episode concludes with a discussion of the lasting legacy of the Bricker Amendment, which involves a pervasive American suspicion of UN human rights treaties & other international agreements.
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