The election could go either way. The senator had a better-than-even shot at winning the presidency, but events on the other side of the globe could could sway votes as much if not more than the domestic issues that the Democratic politician campaigned for. Revolution was brewing in one nation and war was raging in another. In polling, the American public was becoming more and more sympathetic to one side of the far-off war, with stories of mistreatment and atrocities stirring their anger.

But this stirring was not enough to sway voters, or so it seemed. Most American voters wanted to stay out of it, and the senator agreed. His opponents’ criticism and push to get into the war solidified his own anti-war image, and would ultimately lead to his winning the election, albeit by a slim margin.

This was not 2008, and the senator was not Barack Obama. It was 1916, and the candidate was named Woodrow Wilson. Wilson’s policy of neutrality and isolationism kept the United States out of war, but not for long. Some believe it was that policy that actually forced us into World War I. So what about now, in 2015? Are we maintaining a quasi-isolationist policy? If not, what would a full or selective isolationist policy look like and what consequences would it hold?

In the early stages of World War I, the average American citizen, while sympathetic to the plight of the Allies in their war against Germany, were not ready for a fight. The United States had just left the era of Theodore Roosevelt and his “speak softly and carry a big stick” policy. Roosevelt believed that the U.S. had lost its status on the world stage, and he wanted to see that change, even sending the white-hulled U.S. Navy fleet around the world as a show of force. Most of Roosevelt’s foreign policy actions were done without the support or consent of Congress, which caused constant tensions.