America at war, president signs war resolution

By ROBERT J. BENDER, United Press Staff Correspondent

WASHINGTON, April 6, 1917 (UP) - America is at war.


As the president's pen scratched his signature to the war resolution today wires and radio waves radiating from Washington flashed innumerable orders loosing America's fleets and forces against the German government.

President Wilson signed the resolution at the white house this afternoon.

It was signed by Vice President Marshall shortly after the senate met at noon.

Jerry South, clerk of the house, presented the resolution in person - an unusual proceeding.

South, entering the center aisle of the senate, awaited a pause that followed the morning prayer.

"A message from the house of representatives," announced a senate secretary.

The messenger was escorted to the vice president's desk and the portentous paper was immediately handed back to Marshall.

"Mr. President," said South.

"Mr. Secretary," Marshall replied.


"I present senate joint resolution No. 1," said South, "declaring that a state of war exists between the imperial German government and the government and the people of the United States, and making provision to prosecute the same."

As he waited for a clerk to record the bill on the big senate ledger, Marshall took a new stub pen, wet it carefully with his tongue and held it ready. As the resolution was put on his desk, after a little smudge had been erased in the space left for his signature, Marshall dipped the pen into an ink well and signed - at just 12:13 p.m.

As Marshall finished there was a long sigh. Those in the galleries and on the floor squirmed for a better chance to see history in the making.

There was a wild scramble in the press gallery as newspaper men dashed for the wires with the word of a nation going to war.

After Marshall had signed, the bill was sent into the office of the secretary of the senate.

There the single sheet of parchment was wrapped up, carefully sealed, tied with red tape and rushed to the white house by a bicycle messenger.


Senator La Follette, who opposed the measure, did not turn his head as the momentous resolution was announced. He continued to sort documents on his desk busily.

Senator Stone, also opposed, gazed absently into the galleries.

The war resolution immediately was formally reported to the senate has having been passed by the house and senate and signed by Speaker Clark.

Vice President Marshall then signed the measure at 12:13 p.m.

Just before news of Marshall's signing the resolution reached the white house, the president and Mrs. Wilson went out for a short walk. They had returned by 1 p.m.

Amidst the most dramatic scenes ever witnessed in congress, the house today passed the resolution which formally declared Germany an enemy and included the United States in the fight for democracy.

The war resolution formally recognizes the war Germany has made upon the United States, attests that a state of war exists, and empowers the president to use the army, the navy and all of the resources of the country, to bring Germany to terms and end the world conflict.

The vote on the resolution was 373 to 50. It was completed at 3:08 a.m.

For the first time in history a woman voted on the question of war. With a sob and a profession of her love of country, Miss Jeannette Rankin, new representative from Montana, voted "no."


Latest Headlines