The Inquiry

The Inquiry

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The Inquiry was a study group established in September 1917 by Woodrow Wilson
Woodrow Wilson
Thomas Woodrow Wilson was the 28th President of the United States, from 1913 to 1921. A leader of the Progressive Movement, he served as President of Princeton University from 1902 to 1910, and then as the Governor of New Jersey from 1911 to 1913...

 to prepare materials for the peace negotiations following World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

. The group, composed of around 150 academics, was directed by presidential adviser Edward House
Edward M. House
Edward Mandell House was an American diplomat, politician, and presidential advisor. Commonly known by the title of Colonel House, although he had no military experience, he had enormous personal influence with U.S...

 and supervised directly by philosopher Sidney Mezes
Sidney Edward Mezes
Sidney Edward Mezes was an American philosopher.-Biography:He was born in what is now the town of Belmont, California on September 23, 1863, to a Spanish-born father and Italian-born mother. He graduated in 1884 from the University of California in engineering and was a member of the Chi Phi...

. The group worked from the offices of the American Geographical Society
American Geographical Society
The American Geographical Society is an organization of professional geographers, founded in 1851 in New York City. Most fellows of the society are Americans, but among them have always been a significant number of fellows from around the world...

 of New York.

Mezes's senior colleagues were geographer Isaiah Bowman
Isaiah Bowman
Isaiah Bowman, AB, Ph. D. was an American geographer...

, journalist Walter Lippmann
Walter Lippmann
Walter Lippmann was an American intellectual, writer, reporter, and political commentator famous for being among the first to introduce the concept of Cold War...

, historian James Shotwell
James T. Shotwell
James Thomson Shotwell was a Canada-born American history professor. He played an instrumental role in the creation of the International Labor Organization in 1919, as well as for his influence in promoting inclusion of a declaration of human rights in the UN Charter.Born in Strathroy, Ontario, he...

, and lawyer David Hunter Miller
David Hunter Miller
David Hunter Miller was a U.S. lawyer and an expert on treaties who participated in the drafting of the covenant of the League of Nations...

.. Others included James Truslow Adams
James Truslow Adams
James Truslow Adams was an American writer and historian. He was not related to the famous Adams family...

 and Walter Weyl
Walter Weyl
Walter Weyl was an intellectual leader of the Progressive movement in the United States. his most influential book, The New Democracy was a classic statement of democratic meliorism, revealing his path to a future of progress and modernization based on middle class values, aspirations and brain...


Members of The Inquiry, later renamed the American Commission to Negotiate Peace
American Commission to Negotiate Peace
The American Commission to Negotiate Peace, successor to The Inquiry, participated in the peace negotiations at the Treaty of Versailles, January 18 — December 9, 1919. Frank Lyon Polk headed the commission in 1919...

, traveled to the Paris Peace Conference
Paris Peace Conference, 1919
The Paris Peace Conference was the meeting of the Allied victors following the end of World War I to set the peace terms for the defeated Central Powers following the armistices of 1918. It took place in Paris in 1919 and involved diplomats from more than 32 countries and nationalities...

 in January 1919, accompanying Wilson aboard the USS George Washington to France.

Some members would later establish the Council on Foreign Relations
Council on Foreign Relations
The Council on Foreign Relations is an American nonprofit nonpartisan membership organization, publisher, and think tank specializing in U.S. foreign policy and international affairs...

, which is independent of the government.


Paul Monroe
Paul Monroe
-Biography:He was born at North Madison, Indiana. He graduated at Franklin College, Franklin, Indiana in 1890, studied at the University of Heidelberg and took his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1897. He became professor at Columbia in 1899, his research involving education in its...

, a professor of history at Columbia University
Columbia University
Columbia University in the City of New York is a private, Ivy League university in Manhattan, New York City. Columbia is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York, the fifth oldest in the United States, and one of the country's nine Colonial Colleges founded before the...

, was head of The Inquiry. He drew on his experience in the Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

 to assess the educational needs of developing areas such as Albania
Albania , officially known as the Republic of Albania , is a country in Southeastern Europe, in the Balkans region. It is bordered by Montenegro to the northwest, Kosovo to the northeast, the Republic of Macedonia to the east and Greece to the south and southeast. It has a coast on the Adriatic Sea...

, Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

 and central Africa. Presenting educational development as instrumental to nation-building and socioeconomic development, Monroe recommended the implementation of a progressive curriculum
See also Syllabus.In formal education, a curriculum is the set of courses, and their content, offered at a school or university. As an idea, curriculum stems from the Latin word for race course, referring to the course of deeds and experiences through which children grow to become mature adults...

 - with an emphasis on practical, adult, and teacher training - in a national system of education, as a basis for self-development, except in Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

. His approach shaped American cooperation with developing countries in the 1920s and modernization efforts during the 1920s-1930s.