3704 UNIVERSAL HISTORY-THE MODERN WORLD.
which is to the American people what
the French flag is to the people of France,
a symbol of liberty. I hold in my other
hand the flag of France, who has given
of her best, her stanchest, and her bravest,
and which also stands for liberty. I
had the honor to carry the French flag on
the field of battle, and I am glad to join
the flag of many battles to the flag that has
never known defeat. With this flag I
bring to you the salute of the French
army to the American people, our stanch
Ally in the common cause."
As he ended he joined the two flags, having the common colors of red, white, and
blue, while the whole assembly mounted on
the seats and wildly cheered. And his
reference to "the flag that has never known
defeat" was prophetic of the future.
Italian, Japanese, Russian, Belgian, and
other missions subsequently visited the
United States and were well received.
The Teutonic hope that the United
States would not take an active part
in the war was speedily dispelled. Congress quickly appropriated (April 24)
the immense sum of seven billion dollars
for war purposes and authorized the
Secretary of the Treasury to advance
loans to nations at war with our enemies.
This policy of aiding our associates financially was continued throughout the war,
and, by the end of 1918, about eight
billions had been so advanced. This
aid took the form almost wholly of extending credits to our Allies for goods
purchased in this country. Some such
arrangement was vitally necessary if we
were to supply such goods in large quantities, for the balance of trade was so
much in favor of the United States that
the country already had a plethora of
gold, whereas our European Allies were
being rapidly drained of coin.
During the early months of the war,
volunteering for the army and navy
proceeded slowly. It was clear that sufficient men could not be obtained in this
way and that it would be necessary to
resort to some method of conscription.
A bill to that effect was introduced in
Congress. It met considerable opposition.
Speaker Clark declared against it, asserting
that in Missouri the word "conscript"
was considered in much the same light
as the word "convict." In the House
the bill was opposed by Claude Kitchin,
the majority leader, and by Congressman
Dent, chairman of the Military Committee.
Strangely enough, the task of piloting
it through fell to the lot of Julius Kahn
of California, ranking Republican member
of the committee and a German by birth.
Ultimately, the measure passed both houses
by a large majority and became a law by
the President's signature on May 18, 1917.
This Selective Draft Act authorized
the President to raise the regular army
to the maximum number named in the act
of June, 1916, and to draft into the military
service of the United States all members
of the National Guard and of the National
Guard Reserves. It also authorized him
to organize and equip an additional
force of 500,000 men, and, thereafter, at
his discretion, to add yet another force
of 500,000 men. To provide the necessary
men, a selective draft system was established. All male citizens or male persons,
not alien enemies, who had declared their
intention to become citizens, between
the ages of 21 and 30 years inclusive,
were made subject to call and were required to register upon proclamation by
the President. The act exempted from
service, however, certain classes, including
ministers of the gospel, students of theology and members of well recognized
religious sects whose creed forbade participation in war, but no such person excused
for religious reasons was to be exempted
from non-combatant service. The President was also authorized to exempt from
the draft certain state and federal officials,
pilots, mariners, and persons engaged in
other essential industries.
One section of the law was inserted
against the wishes of the administration.
Even before our break with Germany
Colonel Roosevelt had appealed to the
Secretary of War for permission to raise
a division of troops in case of hostilities,
and he later offered to raise two or possibly
four divisions. He did not ask for chief