Document 17: Mrs. William Sherman Walker, "Editorial Comment on D.A.R.," DAR Magazine (July 1927), 520-521.
Another reason for their resistance to Catt's letter may have been the DAR
leaders' 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 organizations.
Her initial offering was more benign and subtle, providing excerpts from newspapers across the nation praising the Daughters for their patriotism and diligence. This article described DAR members 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 those of 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- and middle-class backgrounds. Members of both associations were struggling for a position of greater strength within American political culture.
EDITORIAL COMMENT ON D.A.R.
Received Through the Committee on National Defense
Mrs. William Sherman Walker, National Chairman
Chicago (Ill.) Evening Post, April 25, 1927: Yesterday the Daughters of the American Revolution left Washington to go to their various homes to work for the good of the country. There is nothing anemic about these American women. They were here for a week, and it was a relief to look on the doings of a gathering of women who were not working to undo the land which gave them birth.
Washington has all kinds of conventions. There are, of course, many purely commercial gatherings, but there are here from time to time meetings of those whose sole desire seems to be to glorify every country on earth except the land in which they live and have their being. They are a sorry lot, and the present-day peril of the thing is that so many people seem to give heed to them and their propaganda. Washington has plenty of evidence that the underminers of things American constantly are at work.
The Daughters of the American Revolution are militant without being militaristic. They also are in the habit of expending money for tablets to perpetuate the memory of this battle or that battle or of some patriot who was not ashamed to bear arms in behalf of his country. They do not think that George Washington ought to be damned by the present generation because he carried a sword and was followed by men who carried muskets and who knew how to use them.
The woman delegates to certain other conventions which come to Washington do not like the Daughters of the American Revolution. They do not like them because the Daughters think the United States and its ways of doing things are preferable to Russia and its way of doing things. The gift to Washington of such a convention as that which is just closed is a godsend.
The Daughters of the American Revolution proved conclusively during the sessions of their convention that they believe in a defense army and navy for America and for that kind of preparedness which in need's hour will be adequate for the protection of Uncle Sam's domain. They were unafraid to ask apostles of preparedness to speak to them, and they were not timid to extend invitations to be present and to speak to men who in the past and present are willing to bear arms for the land which is theirs.
--Edmund B. Clark
Patriotism of Women
Washington (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.
Whenever pacifism has tried to appeal to the women of the United States it has met a stone wall. They have quickly detected the fallacy and cowardice that underlie the theories of pacifism. In such patriotic organizations as the Daughters of the American Revolution the genuine sentiments of the masses of American women are crystallized in times of peace; and in times of war the women themselves, by millions, soon manifest their willingness to undergo any hardship in defense of their country. Not a soldier goes to the front who is not inspired by a woman. Woman's indomitable spirit hovers over the battlefield. The victors hasten to their women to share the joy of victory, and the vanquished turn to them for consolation and renewed courage.
The average American woman, if placed on the battlements during war, would die rather than desert her post, and yet the same woman, in time of peace, is neglectful of the fact that "eternal vigilance is the price of liberty." It is her duty to study government, to get the truth regarding legislative measures, and to scrutinize candidates for public office. She is now an integral part of the government, responsible for its workings and charged with the duty of serving as a sentinel.
American women are not only morally bound to vote, but must stir up the men and get them to the polls!
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. If 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 and defend American institutions and 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.