HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES VOTES FOR WAR 373-50
Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) One hundred years ago at 3:12 a.m., April 6, 1917, the United States House of Representatives voted 373-50 to go to war with Germany. It was the fourth time in the history of the House that this had happened. The other three were in 1812, 1846 and 1898.
Among the dissenting votes were those of Majority Leader Claude Kitchin* of North Carolina and Representative Jeannette Rankin** of Montana. Miss Rankin, the first woman to be elected to Congress, was seated in the back row when her name was called. She did not respond. On the second calling, however, she "staggered to her feet and in a choking voice gasped out..."
"I want to stand by my country, but I cannot vote for war."
Then she added, "I VOTE NO!"
The Chicago Daily Tribune reported that after her vote, Miss Rankin "sank into her seat bordering on collapse."
*Claude Kitchin (1869-1923) was born in Halifax County, North Carolina & graduated from Wake Forest University in 1888. CK then read law & was admitted to the Bar in 1890. He was Democratic floor leader in the 64th, 65th & 67th Congress & member of the House Ways & Means Committee. CK opposed President Wilson's preparedness program & his subsequent war policies.
**Jeannette Rankin (1880-1973) was born in Missoula County, Montana & graduated from the University of Montana in 1902. After becoming involved in the woman suffrage movement, she was elected as the first female in the US Congress on November 7, 1916. JR was elected again in 1940 and cast votes against both WWI & WWII.
"Kitchin, Claude," by Richard L. Watson, Jr., 1988, NC Pedia, www.ncpedia.org/
"Miss Rankin Votes 'No' On War Resolution," The Chicago Daily Tribune, April 6, 1917, www.archives.chicagotribune.com/
"The House Declaration of War Against Germany in 1917, April 6, 1917. History, Art and Archives, United States House of Representatives, www.history.house.gov/