Document 17: Mrs. William Sherman Walker, "Editorial Comment on D.A.R.," DAR Magazine (July 1927), 520-521.
Another reason for resistance to Catt's
letter among DAR leaders may have been the organization's increased commitment to
militarism. During the exchange between Catt and the DAR, another interesting item
appeared in The DAR Magazine. A column devoted to the "Committee on National
Defense," under the leadership of Mrs. William Sherman Walker, debuted in the July
1927 issue. The purpose of the column was to educate the Daughters on all facets of
national defense, although Walker also used the column as a forum to attack peace
Her initial offering was more benign and subtle, providing excerpts from newspapers across the nation praising the Daughters for the patriotism and diligence. One article described the Daughters as being "militant without being militaristic." A writer from the Washington Post suggested that the DAR represented the "sentiments of the masses of women" on the issue of the military in peacetime.
It is difficult to determine what the "masses" of women actually thought about peace and disarmament. Neither the members of the DAR nor the WILPF could be described as the "average American woman" of the 1920s. Women from both organizations were often well-educated, well-traveled, and from upper-class backgrounds. Members of both groups were struggling for a position of greater strength within the political sphere. Whether the beliefs of either group represented what the typical American, male or female, thought can not be determined. The editorials which appear below, however, indicate the presence of a segment of society who held strong ideas about the need for maintaining a strong defense and who applauded the Daughters for continuing to champion that cause.
EDITORIAL COMMENT ON D.A.R.
Patriotism of WomenWashington (D.C.) Post, April 19, 1927: The patriotism of American women was voiced yesterday by Mrs. Alfred J. Brosseau, President General of the Daughters of the American Revolution. She appealed to American women to interest themselves in social and political problems, and particularly in casting their ballot.
To Save Their Own Skins
Jefferson County Union (Fort Atkinson, Wis.), April 22, 1927: We are glad to see the D.A.R. ladies come out strongly for military training for developing the youth of the country. Women constitute half the voters, but they are not half the rabbits when it comes to defending our country against invasion. A lot of the "rabbits" are men who talk pacifism to save their own skins.
They Attack America
Westfield (N.J.) Leader, April
20, 1927: The pride and patriotism of this country is under constant attack from several
organizations that get together under an umbrella that they call pacifism and pretending
to be opposed to war they are destroying American self-respect and spreading the poison of
communism among the young men and women of the schools and colleges. The men and women at
the head of the movement represent every disturbing element in the United States and if
they were left alone they would destroy every vestige of the constructive work of
Washington and Lincoln.
Soviet Russia with its horrible record of crime and bloodshed is the inspiration of most of the individuals who in America protest so loudly against war and preparedness of defense against the attacks of other powers. Communism wants a supine America that will not be able to defend itself against any other nation where anarchy may reign and Lenins and Trotskys may set up their drumhead court martials and destroy every property right and wreck the church and the home.
There are some patriotic organizations that are active and fearless and Westfield is fortunate in that they are well organized and active in this community. It time of trouble and stress ever comes it will be the Sons and Daughters of the American Revolution, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion, the Spanish War Veterans and other organizations like them which with the safe, sane and conservative citizens of the town will rise a defend American institutions an American principles.
A Tribute Deserved
The Evening Star (Washington,
D.C.), April 19, 1927: President Coolidge, in a letter to the President General of the
Daughters of the American Revolution, Mrs. Alfred J. Brosseau, has fittingly expressed the
gratitude of the Government for the patriotic work carried on by that organization. The
country should and would show itself equally grateful could it be articulate.
The Daughters of the American Revolution are meeting here in their thirty-sixth Continental Congress. The history of the organization has been one of patriotic duty well performed. As President Coolidge aptly said in his letter: "They (the members of the society) stand for the Constitution and the Flag. They believe in adequate military defense and represent the principles that have made this country free and prosperous. They always are on the alert to point out the difference between license and liberty, the destruction of our institutions and the promotion of human welfare. For all of this patriotic work they are entitled to the approbation of all loyal Americans."
The Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution has grown and developed to great proportions. Its chapters are found in every State and practically in every country. It has reared in Washington a magnificent home which in itself is a monument to the men and women of the Revolution. Its underlying purpose is to keep alive the principles of liberty and justice, the love of country, which animated the fathers of the great Republic. It is a matter of sincere congratulation that the society has never faltered, never deviated in its patriotic work.
Document 18: Mrs. William Sherman Walker, "Adequate National Defense versus a National Peace Department," December 1927