Michael Peabody, editor of ReligiousLiberty.TV, writes for the July / August 2010 issue of Liberty Magazine. The full article is available in print and online at http://www.libertymagazine.org/index.php?id=1636
The date was June 5, 1917, the first day of the draft. Sousa’s Band struck up “Stars and Stripes Forever” and the 6,000 in attendance at the American Medical Association Convention in New York City rose to their feet as former president Theodore Roosevelt walked across the stage.
The United States had tried to avoid war, but the German U-boats kept a relentless attack on American interests at sea. In a complicated scenario the British were fearful that the anticolonialist Americans would enter on the side of the Central Powers, and there were rumors that Germany would enlist Mexico to join Japan in fighting the United States in return for Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona.
President Wilson, who won the presidency on the promise of keeping America out of the war, quietly began arming some American merchant ships, and Germany sunk several, an act that former president Roosevelt denounced as piracy. Roosevelt insisted on war, and on April 6, 1917, Congress declared war.
Once at the podium, Roosevelt ripped into those who did not support the draft for moral reasons. “The conscientious objector,” he said, “curtains his cowardice behind the statement that he objects to placing himself in a position where he might take part in killing someone. I’d guard his conscience. I’d send him to the front, but I wouldn’t give him a gun. I’d put him to digging kitchen sinks and trenches so that good men could rest until the time came for them to kill someone. Then I’d watch his conscience to see what it would do.”
Read the Full Article at http://www.libertymagazine.org/index.php?id=1636