WILSON VICE-PRESIDENT SAYS A STATE OF WAR EXISTS
Montgomery, Alabama & Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) 100 years ago today, March 20, 1917, Vice-President Thomas Riley Marshall*, speaking in Montgomery, declared "a state of war between the United States and Germany actually exists." The Vice-President went on to ask the American people to stand behind President Woodrow Wilson.
The Chicago Daily Tribune reported on March 21, 1917 that in a two-hour meeting the previous day, the Cabinet "voiced a virtually unanimous view that the date for an extra session of Congress, set for April 16, should be set forward."
Arthur Sears Henning wrote...
"It is understood the cabinet...gave the President their assurance of support for a program based on the early summoning of congress and a formal declaration that a state of war exists between Germany and the United States."
Mr. Henning continued...
"That the president regards the existing situation a state of war...calling for closer relations with the allies, is evidenced by numerous developments."
The President, however, put his troubles aside briefly to attend a vaudeville performance at the White House.
*Thomas Riley Marshall (1854-1925) was born in North Manchester, Indiana & graduated from Wabash College in 1873. TRM was admitted to the bar in 1875 & began his law practice in Columbia City in 1876.
Before his selection as WW's VP, TRM served as progressive governor of Indiana. Although personally not fond of Wilson, TRM was included on the Democratic ticket in 1916 & became the 1st VP since John C. Calhoun (1828) to be re-elected.
During WWI, TRM gave speeches in support of Liberty Bonds & when WW suffered a stroke in 1919, the President's advisers and wife Edith made sure that the VP did not assume presidential duties.
A man of great humor, Mr. Marshall often told the story about a man who had two sons, one went to sea & drowned, the other was elected Vice-President & neither was ever heard from again. TRM died of a heart attack.
"Say State of War Exists, Wilson Hears Cabinet Plea," by Arthur Sears Henning, March 21, 1917, The Chicago Daily Tribune, www.chicagotribune.com/