PRESIDENT WILSON MAKES HIS CASE FOR SELECTIVE CONSCRIPTION
Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) One hundred years ago today, April 19, 1917, President Woodrow Wilson issued a public appeal for the support of selective conscription.
In light of strong opposition from both Republicans and Democrats, the President made his case in a letter to Representative Guy Helvering* of Kansas.
Mr. Wilson wrote...
"Our object is a mobilization of all the productive and active forces of the nation and their development to the highest point of co-operation and efficiency, and the idea of selective service is that those should be chosen for service in the army who can be most readily spared from the prosecution of the other activities which the country must engage."
The President emphasized that when men are allowed to make the choice themselves (a volunteer army) they may do so without regard to their other responsibilities. In other words, a farmer or miner might choose to join the army when the nation would be better served by these men continuing to work in their vital occupations.
*Guy Helvering was Representative for the 5th Congressional District of Kansas. First elected in 1913, GH served five years.
"Representative Guy Helvering," Inside Gov, www.members-of-congress-insidegov.com/
"WILSON ISSUES PUBLIC APPEAL FOR DRAFT LAW," The Chicago Daily Tribune, April 20, 1917, www.archives.chicagotribune.com/