WILSON PREPARED TO BRAND OPPONENTS OF DRAFT AS DANGEROUS FOES OF THE NATIONAL INTEREST
Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) One hundred years ago this afternoon, April 17, 1917, President Woodrow Wilson summoned S. Hubert Dent, Jr.* (D) Alabama, Chairman of the House Military Affairs Committee to the White House to "read him the riot act" concerning opposition to providing the nation "an adequate army" based on universal service.
Chairman Dent had proposed legislation to establish a Selective Service System to conduct a draft for military service but also required the President to first attempt to raise an all volunteer army. The proposal passed Dent's committee by a vote of 13-8. A floor vote was scheduled for April 18, 1917.
President Wilson let it be known that he would give the Democrats opposing his call for the adoption of selective conscription "one more chance to get in line" or else he would brand them publicly "as dangerous foes of the highest interests of the nation."
The President also met with Minority Leader James R. Mann. Within three weeks time, the House turned on the issue and favored Wilson's call for the military draft.
*Stanley Hubert Dent, Jr. (1869-1938) was born in Eufaula, Alabama & graduated from Southern University in 1886 & the University of Virginia School of Law in 1889.
SHD served as United States Congressman representing Alabama's 2nd District from 1909 to 1921.
"Reconciliation and Revival: James R. Mann and the House Republicans in the Wilson Era," by Herbert F. Margulies, Greenwood Publishing Group, Inc., Westport, CT, 1996.
"Wilson Cracks Whip As Draft Bill Is Balked, Hangs Dire Threat Over Obstructionists of House Body" by Arthur Sears Henning, The Chicago Daily Tribune, April 18, 1917, www.archives.chicagotribune.com/
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