From the outbreak of the war president Wilson hoped to preserve American neutrality and from his vantage point, do what he could to bring about peace. As early as May 10, 1915, he addressed several thousand foreigners, after neutralization ceremonies, and made one of his most famous and controversial pronouncements.
In 1916, Wilson was re-elected president by a slender margin, no doubt on the basis of the slogan “he kept us out of war.” With this justification he directed a note to the belligerent government that would at least give them an honourable excuse to begin negotiations.
This failing he called congress together and delivered his carefully prepared address on “peace without victory”, which was really directed at the people of warring countries. But he couldn't maintain his proud neutrality much longer. Just at this time the German government returned to unrestricted submarine war, and Wilson was obliged to appear again before congress with his proposal to break off relations with the German government.
And so on April 2, 1917, he asked a hushed Congress, in a joint session, to declare that a state of war existed between the United States and Germany.