The United States presidential election of 1916 took place while Europe was embroiled in World War I. Public sentiment in the still neutral United States leaned towards the British and French (allied) forces, due to the harsh treatment of civilians by the German Army, which had invaded and occupied large parts of Belgium and northern France. However, despite their sympathy with the allied forces most American voters wanted to avoid involvement in the war, and preferred to continue a policy of neutrality. The campaign pitted incumbent President Woodrow Wilson, the Democratic candidate, against Supreme Court Justice Charles Evans Hughes, the Republican candidate. After a hard-fought contest, Wilson defeated Hughes by a narrow margin. Wilson was helped by his campaign slogan "He kept us out of war".