The Story of The American Legion
by George Seay Wheat
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The Story of The American Legion


George Seay Wheat

The Birth of the Legion

The first of a series to be issued after each Annual National Convention


G.P. Putnam's Sons New York and London The Knickerbocker Press 1919

The Knickerbocker Press, New York


The American Legion was conceived by practically the entire personnel of the army, navy, and marine corps! Every man in the military and naval establishment did not think of it in just such terms, but most of them knew that there would be a veterans' organization of some tremendous import, and here it is!

"A veterans' organization of some kind will be formed." I heard that identical remark not once, but a dozen times on board a transport en route to France as early as September, 1918. In fact, one night in the war zone a group of officers were huddled around a small piano trying to make the best of a lightless evening, and, having sung every song from Keep the Home Fires Burning to You're in the Army Now, paused, longingly toyed cigarettes which were taboo by ship's order, and then began to spin yarns.

"Reminds me of a G.A.R. reunion," one second lieutenant from Maine remarked, after a particularly daring training camp adventure had been recounted.

"Just think of the lying we'll all do at our reunions when this war is over," chirped a youngster from South Carolina. And then spoke a tall major from Illinois:

"The organization which you young fellows will join won't be any liefest—at least not for forty years. Don't forget there's some saving to do for the United States when this European mess is over. Us fellows won't ever get out of Uncle Sam's service."

How well the Illinois major hit the nail on the head! The incident on the transport seems worth recording not only because of the major but because it shows the general anticipation of what is now the American Legion. Perhaps it was this general anticipation which is responsible for the cordial reception that the Legion has had ever since its very inception in Paris.

No one can lay claim to originating the idea of a veterans' association, because it was a consensus among the men of the armed forces of our nation. A certain group of men can take unto themselves the credit for starting it, for getting the ball rolling, aiding its momentum, and, what is more important, for guiding it in the right direction, but no one man or group of men "thought up" the American Legion. It was the result of what might be called the "spontaneous opinion" of the army, navy, and marine corps caused by a fusing together in a common bond of the various elements of the service, just as spontaneous combustion is brought about by the joint action of certain chemical elements.

Spontaneous opinion, like spontaneous combustion, is dangerous when improperly handled and beneficient when rightly directed. That's what the organizers of the Legion have been and will be mostly concerned with. They have their elements—these men of the army, navy, and marine corps, and the organizers mean to direct this united and organized patriotism into such channels as will make for the welfare of the United States of America primarily, and, secondarily, for the welfare of the service men themselves.

Just how much attention this Legion with four million potential members intends to pay to the United States of America, and just how much to themselves per se, is basicly important and pertinent as a question, nowadays when the Legion is being tried and is on the witness stand before public opinion. The answer is most clearly indicated by the preamble to the proposed constitution printed elsewhere.

This preamble stresses Americanism, individual obligation to the community, state, and nation; battling with autocracy both of the classes and masses; right the master of might; peace and good will on earth; justice, freedom, and democracy! Only in the last two words of the preamble is mention made of the welfare of the men themselves. These two words are mutual helpfulness. But be sure and understand the connection in which they are used.

"... we associate ourselves together ... to consecrate and sanctify our comradeship by our devotion to mutual helpfulness."

This is the way the last purpose of the preamble reads.

The men who framed this constitution certainly did not believe that comradeship would be consecrated and sanctified by anything of a selfish character under the guise of mutual helpfulness. Certainly not the comradeship that made bearable the zero hour in the trenches or the watch in a submarine infested sea.

To go a little in advance of the story and speak practically, mutual helpfulness has meant so far voting down a pay grab from Congress; a get-together spirit to foster the growth of the Legion; a purpose to aid in the work of getting jobs for returning soldiers, and the establishment of legal departments throughout the country to help service men get back pay and allotments. Mutual helpfulness in this case would seem to make Uncle Sam as much a partner in it as are the Legion members. Because, for every job the Legion gets an unemployed man, and for every dollar Legion lawyers help collect for back pay and allotments, a better citizen is made. And better citizenship is what the Legion most wants.

So here seems to be the place to make the patent observation that mutual helpfulness will in future years mean just what it means to-day—doing something for the United States of America.

At the present time the Legion might be compared to a two-headed American eagle—one looking towards France and the A.E.F., and the other homewards to the service men here. The two are a single body borne on the same wings and nourished of the same strength. They are the same in ideal and purpose but directed for the moment by two different committees working together. One committee is the result of the caucus at Paris in March, when the A.E.F. started the organization, while the other was born this month in St. Louis, Mo., for the men here.







V.—THE ST. Louis CAUCUS, MAY 8, 9, and 10






























[Footnote A: Photo by Gray, Worcester, Mass.]




I believe that the army of to-day, when it goes back to citizen thinking and citizen acting, will be capable of so contributing to the commonwealth of the United States as to change the character of the whole country and lift it up to a higher plane.

BISHOP BRENT, Senior Chaplain, A.E.F. Paris, March, 1919.

On a midsummer morning in 1918, ambulance after ambulance unloaded its cargo of wounded humanity at a base hospital in Paris. The wounded were being conveyed rapidly from the front and the entire hospital was astir with nurses, surgeons, and orderlies. A major, surgeon, almost staggered out of an operating room where he had been on duty for twenty-two hours and started for his quarters when a colonel arrived on an inspection trip.

"Pretty busy," remarked the colonel as he acknowledged the major's salute.

"Busy? Busy!" replied the major. "Good Lord, the only people about here that aren't busy are the dead ones. Even the wounded are busy planning to hobble around at conventions when the Big Show is over. Already they are talking about how they intend to take a hand in things after the war when they get home."

Over across the street a sergeant, limping slightly, stopped under a shade tree and leaned against it to rest. He was almost well of his wound and eagerly awaited the word that would send him to join his regiment, the Twenty-sixth United States Infantry. As he paused under the tree another soldier with a mending wound in the knee and just able to be about stopped to speak to him. The sergeant's hand rose in quick salute for the newcomer was an officer.

"Expect to get back soon, sergeant?" said the officer.

"Yes sir," he replied. "Anxious to go back and get the whole job over, sir."

"So am I," responded the officer. "But what will we all do when the Germans really are licked?"

"Go home and start a veterans' association for the good of the country, sir," the sergeant answered.

Lieutenant Colonel Theodore Roosevelt, then major, was the officer, and Sergeant William Patterson, later killed in action, was the enlisted man, and the institution was Base Hospital No. 2.

Colonel Roosevelt, who was in the hospital convalescing from a wound in his knee caused by a machine gun bullet, told me the story and said it was the first time that he had heard the subject of a veterans' association mentioned, although he had thought of it frequently himself as an organization with boundless possibilities for good. He found later that it was being very generally discussed by men in Base Hospital No. 2, particularly those who were so badly wounded that they could not be sent to the front again and who knew they must further serve their country along peaceful lines at home.

This was during war time, remember!

Then came the armistice!

When our victorious armies were wending their way towards the Rhine, when men of the navy and the marine corps realized that peace had come and that home was again within reach, this thought of a veterans' band, which had slumbered far back in the subconscious thoughts of all of them, burst into objectivity. An association of some sort was widely discussed not only by the men but by the officers as well. But how could even the start of it be begun? Those who considered the project most seriously were confronted with a difficulty which seemed at first to be almost insurmountable: that was the difficulty of assembling at one time and in one place a gathering which might at least approximately represent the whole army, navy, marine corps, or even the A.E.F.

This difficulty tended to narrow what is believed to have been the wish of everyone when he first thought of the matter, that is the hope that it would be another Grand Army of the Republic, another United Confederate Veterans, but greater than either because representative of a United Country. Talk started then about all sorts of imagined and fancied veteran organizations. Some advocated an officers' association. This was believed to be possible because officers had more freedom and more financial ability to attend a convention. Others thought the enlisted men should perfect organizations by regiments first, then divisions, and finally form one great united body.

The present leaders in the movement have since said that they realized that all of these schemes must come to naught because no organization except one on the broadest possible lines could be effective. They believed that all officers and men of the three branches of the service and all enlisted women, whether they served at home or abroad, should be eligible and urged to join one thoroughly democratic and comprehensive organization. They knew that any organization leaving out one or more elements composing the military service of the United States would be forced to compete constantly with the organization or association so discarded. In short, they knew that in union there is strength. And they believed, and still believe, that the problems of peace after a catastrophe such as was never before witnessed in history are so grave that they can be met with safety only by a national bulwark composed of the men who won the war, so closely knit, so tightly welded together in a common organization for the common good of all that no power of external or internal evil or aggression, no matter how allied or augmented, could hope even so much as to threaten our national existence, ambitions, aspirations, and pursuit of happiness, much less aim to destroy them.

Don't forget that the leaders of the movement realized all this, and also remember that they include among their number the enlisted man of the A.E.F. and home army and the sailor in a shore station and on board a destroyer. The realization may not have been in so many words, but each knew he wanted to "make the world safe for democracy"—he had fought to do that and had thought out carefully what it meant, that is, that it didn't mean anything selfish—and each knew enough of the principle of union and strength to embrace the idea when "organize" first began to be mentioned.

But how to do it, that was the problem.

Then kind Fate in the shape of G.H.Q. came to the rescue with what proved to be the solution.

G.H.Q. didn't mean to find the solution. There had been a deal of dissatisfaction with the way certain things were going in the A.E.F. and on February 15, 1919, twenty National Guard and Reserve officers serving in the A.E.F., representing the S.O.S., ten infantry divisions, and several other organizations, were ordered to report in Paris. The purpose of this gathering was to have these officers confer with certain others of the Regular Army, including the heads of train supply and Intelligence Sections of the General Staff of G.H.Q., in regard to the betterment of conditions and development of contentment in the army in France.

Included in this number were Lieutenant Colonel Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., of the First Division, Lieutenant Colonel Franklin D'Olier of the S.O.S., and Lieutenant Colonel Eric Fisher Wood of the 88th Division. All of these officers have since told me that when they left their divisions they were distinctively permeated with the desire to form a veterans' organization of some comprehensive kind. When they got to Paris they immediately went into conference with the other officers on the questions involved in their official trip, details of which do not concern this story.

What is important is the fact that Colonel Roosevelt, Colonel D'Olier, and Colonel Wood each discovered that all of the officers in this representative gathering shared with the thousands of other soldiers of the American forces the hope and desire that the officers and men who were about to return to civilian life, after serving in the great war, whether at home or with the combat units or in the S.O.S., might sooner or later be united into one permanent national organization, similar in certain respects to the Grand Army of the Republic or the United Confederate Veterans and composed of all parties, all creeds, and all ranks, who wished to perpetuate American ideals and the relationship formed while in the military and national service.

When these officers realized what each was thinking they promptly set about with the "let's go" spirit of the A.E.F. to avail themselves of a God-given opportunity. A dinner was spread in the Allied Officers' Club, Rue Faubourg St. Honore, on the night of February 16th and covers were laid for the following:

Lt. Col. Francis R. Appleton, Jr., 2d Army. Lt. Col. G. Edward Buxton, 82d Div. Lt. Col. Bennett C. Clark, ex 35th Div., now with 88th Div. Lt. Col. Ralph D. Cole, 37th Div. Lt. Col. D.J. Davis, ex 28th Div., now att. G.H.Q. Lt. Col. Franklin D'Olier, Q.M., S.O.S. Col. W.J. Donovan, Rainbow Div. Lt. Col. David M. Goodrich, G.H.Q. Maj. T.E. Gowenlock, ex 1st Div., now with 1st A.C. Col. Thorndike Howe, A.P.O. Dept. Lt. Col. John Price Jackson, Peace Commission Maj. DeLancey Kountze, G.H.Q. Lt. Col. R.W. Llewellen, 28th Div. Capt. Ogden Mills, ex 6th Div., now att. G.-2, S.O.S. Lt. Col. Benjamin Moore, 82d Div. Lt. Col. Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., 1st Div. Lt. Col. R.C. Stebbins, 3d A.C. Maj. R.C. Stewart, 1st Div. Lt. Col. George A. White, ex 41st Div., now att. G.H.Q. Lt. Col. Eric Fisher Wood, ex 83d Div., now with 88th Div.

At that dinner the American Legion was born.

Why not let this gathering—the most representative in the history of the A.E.F.—consider itself as a temporary committee to launch the movement? Why not? everyone asked himself and his neighbor over the coffee. All felt that their presence in Paris presented an unusual opportunity to initiate the first steps of such a movement, an opportunity unlikely to be repeated and one they ought not to let slip. Another meeting was suggested to consider the matter. It was held. The result was that there were several more conferences and every such gathering was more enthusiastic than its predecessor. At each of these informal conferences, some one was careful to emphasize that these self-appointed committeemen were by no means representative enough of the army or navy, nor sufficiently numerous to warrant their actually effecting an organization of any character whatsoever. Yet it was believed that, nevertheless, the gathering was representative enough to act as a temporary committee so functioning as to get together from the whole army and navy two caucuses—one to represent the troops in France, and the other those who had remained in America and who, through no fault of their own, had been denied the privilege of making history on a European battlefield. The temporary committee realized that due care must be exercised in getting these caucuses started. Every unit in the A.E.F. should be represented, if possible, at the Paris caucus, while to the one in the States, preferably to be held at St. Louis because of its central location, delegates must come from every Congressional District in the Union.

Thereby would be avoided, it was urged, the mistake of giving the impression that it was a small gathering of men, unrepresentative or serving some special and selfish end.

This was unanimously agreed upon and the temporary committee elected Lt. Col. Roosevelt, temporary chairman, Lt. Col. Bennett C. Clark, temporary vice-chairman, Lt. Col. Wood, temporary secretary.

A sub-committee was appointed to receive from all the members of the temporary committee the names of such individuals of combat divisions and each section of the S.O.S. of the A.E.F., who were eligible and suitable to be delegates to a caucus scheduled for March 15th-16th-17th in Paris. A similar sub-committee was appointed to ascertain the names of men of the home forces in order that they might be urged to attend a caucus in America on or about May 8th-9th-10th.

The work of the sub-committee of the A.E.F. was much more difficult than would appear at first glance. It was easy enough to get the names of leaders in the various outfits, both of officers and men, but to get them to Paris! That was the job. Of course it was the ardent desire of everyone that the new organization should eventually become a society principally devoted to the interests of those who served as enlisted men, for they bore the brunt of the fighting and the work and were fundamentally responsible for the splendid victory.

But once the names of such men were in the committee's hands the real work had not begun. There were mechanical difficulties in securing for enlisted men in active duty leave to attend a caucus in Paris. In the first place the enlisted men themselves, as indicated by several who were consulted, were very diffident about accepting an invitation to attend a caucus where they would be required to sit beside and debate with and against generals and field officers to whom they owed military obedience. Then again, there was the expense of travel in France, as well as the high cost of living in Paris. At the outset this raised the expense of a trip to the French capital to a sum amounting to many months of an enlisted man's pay. Furthermore, the sub-committee was face to face with the A.E.F. regulations providing that except in the most unusual circumstances an enlisted man would not be granted leave except in company with a trainload of his fellows, and to a certain specified leave area.

But as has been said before the conclusion had been reached that if the organization was really to become preeminently an enlisted man's outfit, it would be absolutely necessary to overcome these difficulties and by hook or crook to obtain the attendance of as many privates and noncommissioned officers as possible who were leaders. So, scarcely had seventeen of the twenty officers returned to their commands before they received an urgent appeal to help out the sub-committee of three. They were told to get enlisted delegates to Paris, never mind how, the method being of small importance provided the men were there.



The first delegates began to arrive for the caucus on March 14th. After-the-war good fellowship between those who had been commissioned officers on the one hand, and enlisted men on the other, was foreshadowed in a most interesting and striking manner when they began to come into the hotels. A dozen or more officer delegates brought with them as orderlies an equal number of delegates from the ranks. Thus enlisted personnel, by devious means, were ordered to Paris under one guise or another. One sergeant came under orders which stated that he was the bearer of important documents. He carried a despatch case wadded with waste paper. Another non-com., from a distant S.O.S. sector, had orders to report to Paris and obtain a supply of rat poison. Several wagoners, farriers, and buck privates acquired diseases of so peculiar a character that only Parisian physicians could treat them. As one of them said, he hadn't had so much fun since his office-boy days when a grandmother made a convenient demise every time Mathewson pitched. The expense of the trip was gathered in diverse ways. In some divisions the officer delegates took up collections to defray the expense of enlisted delegates.

In numerous instances, enlisted men refused such assistance and took up their own collections. One amusing story was told by an enlisted man. He said that the "buddies" in his regiment had deliberately lost money to him in gambling games when he refused to be a delegate because he couldn't pay his own expenses. So by various means nearly two hundred enlisted delegates were in Paris by late afternoon on March 14th. It must not be imagined from the foregoing that all the officers arrived on special trains and were themselves in the lap of luxury. One second lieutenant who attended has since confided that he sold his safety razor and two five-pound boxes of fudge sent from home in order to get carfare to Paris.

Practically all of the self-appointed, temporary committee, with the exception of Colonel Roosevelt, was present. He was Chairman of the American Committee and had left France for the purpose of organizing that part of the army and navy which did not get abroad or which had returned home.

The Paris caucus convened at the American Club near the Place de la Concorde on the afternoon of March 15th, Colonel Wood presiding. Lieutenant Colonel Bennett C. Clark of the 88th Division was selected Chairman of the caucus and Lt. Col. T.W. Miller of Pennsylvania, and serving in the 79th Division, was elected Vice-Chairman. When Colonel Wood called the meeting to order nearly one thousand delegates answered the roll-call and these were of all ranks from private to brigadier general; and every combat division and all sections of the S.O.S., were represented. Colonel Wood briefly reviewed the self-appointment of the temporary committee during the previous month and outlined the purposes of the caucus.

A few minutes after Colonel Clark had taken the chair an officer of high rank, a colonel to be exact, moved that while in the convention hall, the after-war status as fellow civilians be forecast and that the stations of rank would there cease to exist. It was agreed that they would be resumed with full force and full discipline as soon as the delegates crossed the threshold of the convention hall and regained the street.

It was the ability of the American officer to do this—to be friendly to a certain extent with his men and yet at the same time to keep them perfectly disciplined—which amazed the officers of the armies of our Allies. No more striking example of this was ever given than within the confines of the American Club on that 15th day of March. The Colonel's motion was unanimously carried and the work of the organization began. Then generals forgot their rank, corporals engaged in hot debates with colonels, sergeants argued with majors and everybody talked with everybody else in a most boylike spirit of fraternity and equality.

Captain Ogden Mills of G.H.Q. moved that four caucus committees be appointed to draft suggestions and submit them to the caucus, one committee to design machinery for convening the winter convention; one committee to submit suggestions as to a permanent organization; one committee on tentative constitution; and one committee on name. Each committee consisted of fifteen members, and was appointed by the Chairman.

Here are the committees, appointed by the chair:


Brig. Gen. Sherburne, 26th Div., Chairman Wagoner Shaw, 88th Div., Vice-Chairman Capt. Ogden Mills, G.H.Q. Colonel Graham, S.O.S. Prvt. C.W. Ney, 1st Army Troops Captain Mahon, 77th Div. Sgt. Obrecht, 1st Army Capt. Kipling, Troops serving with French Sgt. J.C. Hendler, Paris Command Lt. Col. Appleton, 2d Army Hq. Major Gordon, 36th Div. Field Clerk Sowers, Press Section G.H.Q. Major Hungerford, 3rd Army Hq. Cpl. J.H. Anderson, Paris Command Lt. Col. Wren, 36th Division


Colonel Donovan, 42d Div., Chairman Lt. Col. Graham, 88th Div., Vice-Chairman Capt. Boyd, 29th Division Sgt. Tip Bliss, Stars and Stripes Lt. Col. Fitzpatrick, 35th Division Sgt. Rollo S. Thorpe, 88th Div. Lt. Col. Crosby, S.O.S. Pvt. W.L. Thompson, 11th R.R. Engineers Major Graff, 28th Division Major Barry Wright, 79th Division Sgt. Rommel, Paris Command Sgt. V.V. Trout, Paris Command Capt. Carlstrom, S.O.S. Major R.C. Patterson, Peace Commission Lt. Col. Smith, 89th Division


Lt. Col. Robbins, 2d Army Hq. Chairman Lt. Col. Goodrich, G.H.Q., Vice-Chairman Sgt. Dolan, 89th Division Lt. Col. Stebbins, 3rd Army Corps Sgt. H.E. Fleming, 35th Division Major E.S. Haile, 77th Div. Colonel Gibbs, S.O.S. Sgt. McElow, Paris Command Major Horace Rumsey, 35th Division Sgt. C.E. Sommers, Paris Command Major D.D. Drain, 3d Army Sgt. G.F. Fleming, Paris Command Lt. Markoe, 2d Army Major Dwight, S.O.S. Sgt. Barnard, Paris Command

The names of these committees are given because they are more than just names. They show the first bubbles of the melting pot into which all rank and titles in the American Army have been cast and out of which comes the one word "Comrade."

There were three outstanding features of the Paris caucus which were evident by midnight of March 15th. The first was the desire to get together and form an organization quickly and a willingness to forego personal prejudice and opinion to arrive at that end. The second was the determination to make the man who didn't get across as much a component part of the legion as his more fortunate brother-in-arms; while the third was the avowed intention to take no action at the caucus which could be deferred until the winter convention in America, when the home brother and the navy could be jointly represented and a permanent organization could be effected. I say that these things were evident by midnight of March 15th for those who have attended many conventions know that from the casual word heard here and there, the whispered conference of a few leaders, and from the general tenor of discussions carried on by delegates gathered together in little groups, the spirit of the body politic is most perceptible.

After the adjournment of the afternoon session on that day, members of the committees closeted themselves and started work on their special functions, while those who were to pass on the committee's actions, the "hoi polloi" were here and there in groups, in the "Y" huts or in boulevard cafes discussing the real meaning of the gathering. A colonel in the Officers' Club said there must be no disagreement on this or that question; a private in the Bal Tabarin told his buddies the same thing.

And so it came to pass that on the following day in the Cirque de Paris, where the final meetings were held, the delegates formally gathered, sensed the gossip of the clubs and boulevards, and acted accordingly. One of the things done was to endorse the action of the temporary committee in appointing itself and in calling the caucus. Another was to adopt a tentative constitution. It is in reality little more than a preamble, but it gave a working basis, expressing enough and yet not too much.

Newspaper men have told me that the Sermon on the Mount is the finest bit of reporting in the history of writing because it tells a long story succinctly. Lieutenant Colonel Buxton and his committee on constitutions are certainly entitled to credit of the same type—for they tell a great deal in a few lines.

Here's the tentative constitution under which the Legion worked—it was read by Lieutenant Colonel Bolles:

"We, the members of the Military and Naval Service of the United States of America in the great war, desiring to perpetuate the principles of Justice, Freedom, and Democracy for which we have fought, to inculcate the duty and obligation of the citizen to the State; to preserve the history and incidents of our participation in the war; and to cement the ties of comradeship formed in service, do propose to found and establish an association for the furtherance of the foregoing purposes:

"Those eligible to membership shall be: All officers and enlisted personnel in the Military and Naval Services of the United States of America at any time during the period from April 6, 1917, to November 11, 1918, inclusive; excepting however, persons leaving the service without an honorable discharge or persons who having been called into the service refused, failed, or attempted to evade the full performance of such service.

"The society shall consist of a national organization with subsidiary branches; one for each State, territory, and foreign possession of the United States as well as one in each foreign country where members of the national society may be resident and who desire to associate themselves together.

"The officers of the society shall be a President, one or more Vice-Presidents, a Secretary, a Treasurer and a Board of Directors, which shall consist of the President, the Vice-Presidents, together with the chief executive of each subsidiary branch.

"The subsidiary branches shall organize and govern themselves in such manner as the membership of such subsidiary organizations shall determine upon except that the requirements and purposes of the permanent national constitution as adopted shall be complied with.

"The representation shall be on the basis of the actual enrollment in the subsidiary branches at all conventions after the adoption of a permanent constitution.

"Members present at the meeting of this committee as follows:

"Lt. Col. G. Edward Buxton, Jr., Chairman "Lt. Col. T.W. Miller, Secretary "Major Redmond C. Stewart "Col. E.A. Gibbs "Lt. Col. W.H. Curtiss "Major J. Hall "Col. C.L. Ristine."

There were many, many men in the A.E.F. respected and beloved, but none perhaps more than he who seconded a motion made by a private from S.O.S. base section, No. 4, that the constitution be adopted. The seconder asked to speak on the question. When he began he got the rapt attention which Bishop Brent, Senior Chaplain of the A.E.F., always won whether he talked to buck privates knee deep in trench water or the King in Buckingham Palace.

"It was a great soldier who said that the army has not merely a body but a soul and a conscience as well," he began. "I believe the conscience of the army is speaking in this committee's report. I believe the army's soul is speaking in it. I was present on Saturday, at the beginning of this caucus and I will tell you frankly that I was fearful at that moment lest you should create a great mechanism without adequate purposes. My fears have been wholly allayed and I see in the report of your committee the ideals not only of the army but of the nation adequately expressed and I wish to tell you gentlemen that so far as I have any ability to promote this great movement I give you my most hearty support. I believe that the army of to-day, when it goes back to citizen thinking and citizen acting, will be capable of contributing to the commonwealth of the United States so as to change the character of the whole country and lift it up to a higher plane of political, industrial, and religious life. I happen to be at this moment leading in a movement in the army to promote the various ends that are so well expressed in the committee's report, in what is known as the 'Comrades in Service.' There are two ways of creating an organization; one is by forming the principles and leaving the body to take its own shape; the other by creating a machinery without stating your end and reach that end through the machinery. According to our democratic conception we have adopted the former or idealistic method. We are prepared to contribute to this army wide organization which is now brought into existence, all that we have to contribute. We are entirely loyal to your principles and methods of approach and we are quite willing to forego any attempt to make an organization which might become a rival to you. Between now and the time of demobilization there is a great opportunity for us to promote the principles which actuate you. We have already a temporary and provisional organization for the promotion of such principles; the creation of better citizenship along the lines so well expressed. We would like everyone who can to give support to that which we are endeavoring to do, while we ask all who come in with us to be prepared to throw in their lot with this organization when it is perfected in the United States."

"The creation of better citizenship," Bishop Brent says. He wants every one who can, to give support to that; to "what we are trying to do."

If everyone could see just that in the Legion, if everyone will work for just that—better citizenship—the Legion's aim will be realized in its deepest and truest sense. Bishop Brent has a knack of hitting the nail on the head with such force that the sparks fly and by their light comes insight—ask anyone from out Manila-way if it isn't so. The short address was greeted with thunderous applause. The newly born Legion knew it had a champion and a worker in the Bishop.

Col. Wm. J. Donovan of the 165th Infantry, Forty-second Division headed the committee of fifteen which gave the final report on resolutions and organization. This report is reproduced here in full because it presaged the action of the American caucus and brought about the form of the Legion Government until November.

"RESOLVED: That an Executive Committee shall be selected, two (2) from each unit (as recognized in this caucus) and eight (8) to be selected by the Executive Committee; the two members, one officer and one enlisted man, to be selected from each unit to be named by the respective delegations attending this caucus. Each unit shall present the names of committeemen who shall as far as possible represent, in point of residence, each State, Territory and possession of the United States and the District of Columbia.

"This Executive Committee shall have general power to represent the units now in foreign service, to determine its own quorum, to confer with committees from a similar caucus in the United States, to secure one general convention of persons entitled to membership under the tentative constitution, to elect its officers and appoint such sub-committees and give them such powers as may be proper and necessary.

"This Executive Committee acting in conjunction with the committee of the United States is specifically charged with the duty of fixing a date and place for holding a national convention, issuing a call for the holding of county and State conventions and providing a unit of representation and method of selection of delegates to the national convention, by the State conventions.

"The powers of this committee shall expire upon the organization of the permanent national convention.

"The committee is further charged with the duty of making known the existence and purpose of this organization, of stimulating interest in it, and of inviting the support of all those entitled to membership.

"No policy except in furtherance of the creation of a permanent organization having in mind the desirability of unity of action in organizing all the American forces shall be adopted or carried out by the committees.

A meeting for the temporary and preliminary organization of the Executive Committee shall be held at this place immediately upon the adjournment of this caucus.

The Executive Committee may receive and add to its number two representatives from any division or equivalent unit not represented at this caucus."

As the result of the passage of this report it is interesting to note the personnel of the Executive Committee which the delegates selected and which is controlling the American Legion of the A.E.F., observing especially the large number of enlisted men; large in view of the difficulties experienced in getting such men to Paris.

1st Div., Capt. Arthur S. Hyde 2d Div., Lt. Col Harold C. Snyder 26th Div., Sgt. Wheaton Freeman 26th Div., Lt. Col. Wm. J. Keville 27th Div., Lt. Col. Edward E. Gauche, N.Y. 27th Div., Reg. Sgt. Mjr. Samuel A. Ritchie, N.Y. 28th Div., Brig Gen. Wm. G. Brice, Jr., Penn. 28th Div., Sgt. Ted Myers, Penn. 29th Div., Lt. Col. Orison M. Hurd, N.J. 29th Div., Color Sgt. Andreas Z. Holley, Maryland 31st Div., Captain Leon Schwarz, Ala. 33d Div., Col. Milton A. Foreman, Ill. 35th Div., Lt. Col. B.C. Clark, Mo. 35th Div., Sgt. Fred Heney, Kans. 36th Div., Col. Chas. W. Nimon, Texas 36th Div., Sgt. Mjr. L.H. Evridge, Texas 41st Div., Col. Frank White, N. Dak. 42d Div., Col. Henry J. Reilly, Ill. 42d Div., Sgt. Rowe, Iowa 77th Div., Major Duncan Harris 77th Div., Sgt. Lawrence Miller, N.Y. 79th Div., Lt. Col. Stuart S. Janney, Md. 79th Div., Sgt. Benjamin R. Kauffman, Pa. 80th Div., Capt. Arthur F. Shaw, Mich. 81st Div., Major Theodore G. Tilghman, N.C. 81st Div., Reg. Sgt. Mjr. Wm. S. Beam, N.C. 82d Div., Capt. Frank S. Williams, Fla. 82d Div., Sgt. Alvin T. York, Tenn. 83d Div., Lt. Col. Wayman C. Lawrence, Jr., W. Va. 83d Div., Cpl. Thoyer 86th Div., Major John H. Smale, Ill. 88th Div., Lt. Col. George C. Parsons, Minn. 88th Div., Wagoner Dale J. Shaw, Iowa. 89th Div., Lt. Col. Frank Wilbur Smith, Pa. 91st Div., Lt. Col. John Guy Strohm, Oregon 91st Div., Sgt. Mjr. Hercovitz, Calif. S.O.S. Hq., Col. James H. Graham, Conn. Adv. Sec., S.O.S. Capt. David A. Uaurier, Wash. Base Sec. No. 1, S.O.S., Pvt. W.L. Thompson, N.Y. Base Sec. No. 3, S.O.S., Lt. Col. Carle Abrams, Oregon Base Sec. No. 5, S.O.S., Major Orlin Hudson, Kans. Base Sec. No. 6, S.O.S., Major Arthur S. Dwight, N.Y. Troops with French, Sgt. L.K. Flynt, Mass. Troops with French, Capt. A.W. Kipling, Paris, France Paris Command, Pvt. Harold W. Ross, Calif. Paris Command, Lt. Col. John Price Jackson G.H.Q., Bishop Charles H. Brent, N.Y. 1st Army Corps, Lt. Col. Lemuel L. Bolles, Wash. 1st Army Corps, Sgt. Mjr. Race 2d Army Hq., Lt. Col. Burke H. Sinclair, Colo.

The tentative name of this organization was not adopted without a great deal of discussion. All sorts of titles were suggested to the committee which considered the matter. Some of them were:

Comrades of the Great War Veterans of the Great War Liberty League Army of the Great War Legion of the Great War Great War Legion The Legion The American Comrades of the Great War The Great Legion The American Legion

The last was tentatively decided upon as the best name although there was considerable discussion on it. This discussion waxed particularly warm between a colonel and a corporal and it came to an end only when some hungry enlisted delegate braved the officer's rising ire to move an adjournment for lunch. The motion carried immediately and, true to the understanding made at the outset in regard to rank, the corporal clicked his heels together, stood at attention and saluted the colonel, when the latter passed him on the sidewalk exactly five minutes after he had been telling the colonel precisely what he thought of him and his opinions—at least as far as the name of the Veteran's Organization was concerned. I might add that this colonel was well under thirty-five years of age and that the corporal was only twenty-one.

And this brings to mind another striking feature of this most unusual gathering, which was the comparative youth of its membership. For instance the two individuals who have taken from the beginning the leading parts in the movement, Bennett Clark, son of Champ Clark and a Lieutenant Colonel of infantry, and Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., son of the ex-president and also a Colonel of infantry. They are respectively twenty-nine and thirty-one years of age, and one of the most brilliant speeches in the caucus was made by a captain of twenty-six.

It must not be understood from this rather dry recital of what took place at the Paris Caucus, this record of minutes and resolutions, that it was an entirely sedate and dignified gathering. On the contrary, Young America was there and quite often the impression which one gathered was that a dozen or so Big Brothers had been turned loose at once. A great many wild speeches were made and all sorts of ticklish questions were brought up. Chairman Clark broke two gavels and three times overturned his table. Everyone there was young. Peace was young. Few knew exactly, like Bishop Brent, just what was wanted. The whole project was new. Dozens of delegates wanted to speak; it was their first chance since April 6, 1917. In fact one man made two very violent speeches on the same subject, one in direct opposition to the other. He realized he was making a heated argument for both sides and finally sat down laughing about it. Who was he? Who was the colonel who got wrought up over the proposed name? Who were the lieutenants, and who were any of these privates, captains, and sergeants?

"I don't know." Nobody knows.

Doubtless they have themselves forgotten what they said. No verbatim records are available now. In fact I am told that no record could have been kept, for many times two or three were speaking at once and the chairman was breaking the third commandment with his gavel. But this much everyone wanted, "A Veteran's Organization." This much everyone swore he would have, one that was neither political nor partisan, one that would perpetuate righteousness, insure "honor, faith, and a sure intent," and despite whatever bickering there might have been, despite whatever differences of opinion arose, when, with a tremendous "Aye," the motion to adjourn was carried, this Paris Caucus had accomplished a body politic and a soul of the type which Bishop Brent so clearly described.

To resume the story of actual accomplishment. The Executive Committee was given general power to represent the units in France, to confer with committees or representatives of the American Caucus as soon as these should be appointed, and, in conjunction with the latter, to issue a call for the holding of county and State conventions and providing a unit of representation and method of selection of delegates to one general convention for the autumn of 1919, preferably November 11th, or Armistice Day.

The Executive Committee met immediately after the adjournment of the caucus and elected Colonel Foreman of the Thirty-third Division, Chairman; Lt. Colonel George A. White, Forty-first Division, Secretary and Major R.C. Patterson, Paris Command, Assistant Secretary. Lt. Col. White, Col. Wood, Major R.C. Patterson, and Lt. L.R. Farrell were elected permanent members at large of the Executive Committee.

Then from this executive committee a committee of fifteen was chosen for the purpose of expediting the work which had been assigned to the larger committee, it being easier to assemble fifteen men than the larger number. The committee of fifteen elected Col. Bennett Clark as its chairman.

At the first meeting of the committee of fifteen a hope was expressed that the caucus in America would take similar action in the appointment of an executive committee, which would in turn delegate its authority to a smaller committee for working purposes. Just exactly how this worked out, is later described.



Once home again it didn't take a Solomon to tell Colonel Roosevelt that he had a man's size job on his hands in starting the American Legion on its way in the United States. Dispatches more or less accurate had told the service men on this side something about the Legion activities of the A.E.F. in France. As late as mid-April, however, a great many men in this country knew nothing whatever about the American Legion, while the majority of those who did were not at all sure it was to be The Veteran's Organization. What I have said previously about the "spontaneous opinion" of the men in France on the question of a veteran's organization proved to be equally true among service men on this side of the water. Consequently, it wasn't long after the armistice before several veteran's organizations and associations were in the process of formation. As it was a pertinent news topic, the newspapers gave a great deal of prominence in their columns to several of these organizations. They were of various types and characters. One was for enlisted men only. Another was for officers only. There was an organization for officers who had fought in France, Italy, or Russia and there was one or more organizations which had the breadth of vision to see that men of all ranks and all branches of the military and naval establishments must be eligible.

Such was the situation confronting Colonel Roosevelt when he arrived home to help start the American Legion in its own country. The fact of his arrival and his announced intention to aid in the organization of the Legion was duly heralded in the press of the United States.

At first the army and navy men were inclined to say, "Here is another of those mushroom Veteran's Associations bobbing up." In fact I heard one officer make just that remark, but another was quick to correct him by saying, "Its bound to be a straight and honest organization or a Roosevelt wouldn't stand for it." That was the crux of the initial success of the Legion, because just that was true. Every man who wore the uniform had known Theodore Roosevelt, Sr., and although he may not have agreed with him in all of his political opinions still he knew that neither he nor any member of his family would back any organization or proposition that was not morally sterling.

There were those who did not like the American Legion. There were those who were willing to let a past political prejudice deter them from aiding in the most important movement in American life to-day. There were those who stated that Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., was prominent in organizing the American Legion for his own political advancement. The answer to that misapprehension will develop later and will prove one of the most striking incidents in this story.

Colonel Roosevelt has a peculiarly happy faculty of keeping those who work with him cheerful and optimistic. He gathered around him, to launch the movement in America, a set of cheerful, competent optimists, prominent among whom were Colonel Richard Derby, Colonel Franklin D'Olier, who figured in the Paris Caucus, Major Cornelius W. Wickersham, Assistant Chief of Staff of the Twenty-seventh Division, Captain Henry Fairfield Osborne, Lieutenant Colonel Granville Clark, Lieutenant Colonel Leslie Kincaide, Lieutenant Colonel Eric Fisher Wood and Captain H.B. Beers. One of Colonel Roosevelt's first duties as temporary chairman of the Legion over here was to create the nation wide organization. He needed committeemen in every State to work the State organization up, and to start the machinery for the election of delegates to the St. Louis Caucus, for it had been decided that the representation in St. Louis must be by duly elected representatives from congressional districts in so far as that was possible. Each such district was awarded double its congressional representation, in addition to the delegates at large. It was no easy task to pick these committeemen. The decision of the Paris gathering that the organization must be non-partisan and non-political had to be adhered to in its fullest sense. There were soldiers and sailors enough in all the States who would have been willing to have started the organization in their respective localities, but how not to get politicians of the lower order, men who would gladly prostitute the Legion, its aims and ambitions to their own selfish advantage—that was the problem which faced the temporary committee in America.

About three weeks before the St. Louis Caucus the following names were chosen from the various States as committeemen:

OFFICERS Lt. Col. Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., New York, Chairman Lt. Col. Bennett Clark, Missouri, Vice-Chairman Lt. Col. Eric Fisher Wood, Pennsylvania, Secretary.

ALABAMA Lt. H.M. Badham, Jr., Birmingham Pvt. W.M. Cosby, Jr., Birmingham Sgt. Edwin Robertson, Birmingham

ARIZONA Pvt. Ned Bernard, Tucson Lt. Col. J.C. Greenway, Bisbee

ARKANSAS Pvt. P.R. Graybill, Democ. Pub. Co. Little Rock Major J.J. Harrison, Little Rock Pvt. Walter J. Wilkins, Pine Bluff

CALIFORNIA Sgt. L.P. Adams, San Francisco Corp. Chas. A. Beck, San Francisco Lt. Col. Benjamin H. Dibblee, San Francisco Chaplain Joseph D. McQuade, San Francisco Major Stewart Edward White, Santa Barbara

COLORADO Lt. G.W. Cutting, Florence Sgt. C.C. Neil, Greeley Major H.A. Saidy, Colorado Springs Sgt. Phil. G. Thompson, Denver

CONNECTICUT Maj. Morgan G. Bulkeley, Hartford Lt. Col. Jas. L. Howard, Hartford

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA Pvt. L. Clarkson Hines, Washington Col. E. Lester Jones, Washington

DELAWARE Major Thomas W. Miller, Wilmington Capt. John P. Nields, Wilmington

FLORIDA Brig Gen A.H. Blanding, Bartow

GEORGIA Col. Alexander R. Lawton, Jr., Savannah Capt. Landon Thomas, Augusta

IDAHO Major C.M. Booth, Pocatello Pvt. John Green, Twin Falls Major Hawley, Jr., Boise Pvt. D.H. Holt, Caldwell

ILLINOIS Chf. Petty Officer B.J. Goldberg, Chicago Maj. Owsley Brown, Springfield Rear Admiral Frederick B. Bassett, Great Lakes 1st Cl. Pvt. Edw. J. Czuj, Chicago Maj. Thomas Gowenlock, Chicago 1st Cl. Pvt. Hy. Hickman Harris, Champaign 1st Cl. Pvt. Geo. Kendall Hooton, Danville Ensign Allen M. Loeb, Chicago Capt. Clark Nixon, East St. Louis Maj. John Callan O'Laughlin, Chicago Capt. Joseph Medill Patterson, Chicago 1st Cl. Pvt. C.J. Schatz, Wheaton Brig. Gen. Robt. E. Wood, Chicago Sgt. David S. Wright, Oak Park

INDIANA Col. Solon J. Carter, Indianapolis Ensign Win. L. Hutcheson, Indianapolis Sgt. R.J. Leeds, Richmond

IOWA Sgt. Chas. A. Doxsee, Monticello Major H.H. Polk, Des Moines

KANSAS Gen. Chas. I. Martin, Topeka Gen. Wilder S. Metcalf, Lawrence Sgt. Fred C. Stanford, Independence Sgt. Mahlon S. Weed, Lawrence

KENTUCKY Pvt. Samuel J. Culbertson, Louisville Lt. W.C. Dabney, Louisville Capt. Shelby Harbison, Lexington Major James Wheeler, Paducah

LOUISIANA Capt. Allen Cook, New Orleans Lt. John M. Parker, Jr., New Orleans

MAINE Lt. Col. Arthur Ashworth, Bangor Col. Frank W. Hume, 103d Inf. Capt. A.L. Robinson, Portland Pvt. Daniel J. Smart, Sgt. Wm. H. Whalen, 103d Inf. Sgt. Freeman Wheaton, 107th Inf.

MARYLAND Lt. James A. Gary, Jr. Baltimore Sgt. Alexander Randall, Baltimore Major Redmond Stewart, Baltimore Brig. Gen. W.S. Thayer, Baltimore

MASSACHUSETTS Brig. Gen. Charles H. Cole, Boston Sgt. Edw. J. Creed, 101st Inf. Sgt. Ernest H. Eastman, 104th Inf. Major J.W. Farley, Boston Lt. Col. Louis Frothingham, Boston Sgt. Geo. Gilbody, 101st Inf. Sgt. Daniel J. Nolan,

MICHIGAN Lt. Col. Fredk. M. Alger, Detroit Sgt. Rand F. English, Detroit 1st Sgt. Wm. King, Detroit Lt. Commander Truman H. Newberry, Detroit

MINNESOTA Pvt. Gordon Clark, Duluth Major Paul B. Cook, St. Paul Pvt. Wm. D. Mitchell, St. Paul Pvt. W. Bissell Thomas, Minneapolis

MISSISSIPPI Lt. John N. Alexander, Jackson Sgt. Maj. C.J. Craggs, Greenville Major Alex. Fitzhugh, Vicksburg Corp. Isador A. Frank, Clarksdale Sgt. Elmer Price, McComb

MISSOURI Brig. Gen. H.C. Clarke, Jefferson City Pvt. David R. Francis, Jr., St. Louis Corp. Sestus J. Wade, Jr., St. Louis

MONTANA Col. J.J. McGuiness, Helena Corp. Chas. S. Pew, Helena

NEBRASKA Major P.F. Cosgrove, Lincoln Pvt. T.T. McGuire, Omaha Sgt. R. Scott, Imperial Lt. Allan A. Tukey, Omaha

NEVADA Sgt. E.L. Malsbary, Reno Lt. Col. Jas. G. Scrugham, Reno

NEW HAMPSHIRE Sgt. Herve L'Heureaux, Manchester Major Frank Knox, Manchester

NEW JERSEY Col. Hobart Brown, Newark Sgt. Allan Eggers, Summit 1st Lt. Geo. W.C. McCarter, Newark Corp. Roger Young, Newark

NEW MEXICO Capt. Bronson M. Cutting, Santa Fe Col. Debjemond, Roswell Pvt. Canuto Trujillo, Chimayo

NEW YORK Lt. Col. Robert Bacon, New York Lt. Col. Grenville Clark, New York Brig. Gen. Chas. I. Debevoise, Brooklyn Pvt. Meade C. Dobson, New York Col. Wm. J. Donovan, New York Lt. Samuel Gompers, Jr., New York Seaman Jos. F. Healey, New York Chaplain Francis A. Kelley, Albany Lt. Col. J. Leslie Kincaid, Syracuse Ensign Jerome H. Larger, Brooklyn Ensign W.G. McAdoo, Jr., New York Sgt. Major Howard H. McLellan, Yonkers Ensign R.H. Mitchell, New York Major General John F. O'Ryan, New York Lt. D. Lincoln Reed, New York Col. Henry L. Stimson, New York Lt. Col. Chas. W. Whittlesey, New York Major Cornelius W. Wickersham, New York Sgt. Clarence E. Williams, New York

NORTH CAROLINA Lt. R.W. Glenn, Greensboro Lt. Cyrus D. Hogue, Wilmington

NORTH DAKOTA Capt. Matthew Murphy, Fargo

OHIO Sgt. Jas. K. Campbell, Shreve Lt. Col. Jas. R. Cochran, Columbus Lt. Col. Ralph D. Cole, Columbus or Findlay Lt. Col. Isadore H. Duke, Cincinnati

OKLAHOMA Sgt. Eugene Atkins, Muskogee Brig. Gen. Roy Hoffman, Oklahoma City

OREGON Pvt. Harry Critchlow, Portland Sgt. Carl B. Fenton, Dallas Lt. Col. Geo. Kelley, Portland Col. F.W. Leadbetter, Portland Lt. Col. Geo. A. White, Portland

PENNSYLVANIA Major Chas. J. Biddle, Philadelphia Lt. Joseph F. Frayne, Scranton Lt. Col. Robt. E. Glendinning, Philadelphia Lt. Col. John Price Jackson, Harrisburg Pvt. George Jones, Scranton Maj. Alexander Laughlin, Jr., Pittsburg Col. Asher Miner, Wilkes-Barre Lt. John R. Sproul, Chester Lt. Bernard J. Voll, Philadelphia

RHODE ISLAND Major Geo. E. Buxton, Jr., Providence Col. Everitte St. J. Chaffee, Providence Sgt. W.C. Kendrick, Pawtucket

SOUTH CAROLINA Sgt. W.C. Coward, Cheraw Lt. Chas. C. Pinckney, Charleston C.T. Trenholm, Charleston Major W.D. Workman, Greenville

SOUTH DAKOTA Capt. Lawrence R. Bates, Sioux Falls Capt. Royal C. Johnson, Aberdeen Sgt. Ruble Lavery, Vermilion Sgt. Jos. F. Pfeiffer, Rapid City

TENNESSEE Col. James A. Gleason, Knoxville Sgt. Major Keith J. Harris, Chattanooga Sgt. John Hays, Memphis Col. Luke Lea, Nashville Major T.C. Thompson, Jr. Chattanooga Pvt. C.W. Tomlinson, Chattanooga

TEXAS Capt. Stanley E. Kempner, Galveston Col. H.D. Lindsley, Dallas Col. H.B. Moore, Texas City

UTAH Sgt. Maj. H.H. McCartney, Salt Lake City Gen. R.W. Young, Salt Lake City

VIRGINIA Pvt. Frank G. Christian, Richmond Lt. C. Francis Cocke, Roanoke Col. Stuart McGuire, Richmond

VERMONT Pvt. Donald J. Emery, Newport Sgt. Eugene V. Finn, St. Albans Major H. Nelson Jackson, Burlington Capt. Redfield Proctor, Burlington

WASHINGTON Lt. Col. R.W. Llewellen, Seattle Major P.P. Marion, Seattle Brig. Gen. Harvey J. Moss, Seattle Sgt. John J. Sullivan, N. Seattle Sgt. Major R.H. Winsor, Tacoma

WEST VIRGINIA Capt. Fleming W. Alderson, Charleston Sgt. Walter S. Moore, Huntington Sgt. Thomas Schofield, Wheeling Lt. Col. Jackson A. Weston, Charleston

WISCONSIN Edward F. Ackley, Milwaukee Pvt. David Bloodgood, Milwaukee Sgt. Elmer S. Owens, Milwaukee Col. Gilbert E. Seaman, Milwaukee Pvt. John P. Szulcek, Milwaukee

WYOMING Major A.S. Beach, Lusk Sgt. Morris A. Dinneen, Cheyenne Pvt. I.H. Larom, Valley Ranch

United American War Veterans, Warren S. Fischer, Commander-in-Chief Comrades in Service, Bishop Brent, President, National Legion of America, Major Elihu Church, American Army Association, Lt. Haywood Hillyer, General Secretary.

* * * * *

Just about this time it became most necessary to properly present the Legion to those men who had remained at home and who had gotten out of the Service, and to those who were incoming from France and rapidily being demobilized, as it was upon them that the success of the Legion depended. Furthermore, their opinions were the soil upon which the various State organizations had to work, and at that particular time it was vital that the Legion should be widely known and thoroughly understood; that its aims and ambitions should not be misconstrued either willfully or unintentionally, nor its precepts perverted. To this end the temporary Chairman proceeded to publicize it in the most thorough fashion. One-page bulletins briefly outlining the Legion's aims and ambitions were distributed in every center where soldiers and seamen gathered. Such places as Y.M.C.A. and K. of C. huts and War Camp Community recreation centers were thoroughly informed, and bulletins also were sent to every ship in the navy with the request that they be placed on the ship's bulletin board.

Literature about the Legion was placed on transports when they left empty for France so that the men might read it in their leisure hours returning home. In order to make sure that every soldier and sailor would have the opportunity to know about the Legion this literature was again placed on the transports as they arrived in New York harbor. Various demobilization camps throughout the country were widely placarded and in each instance the names of the Temporary State Secretaries were given, and service men were invited to write to the Secretaries in their particular States. Camp publications, newspapers, and periodicals published for service men throughout the country were bountifully supplied with Legion information and scores of them carried special stories in regard to it. Bulletins and pamphlets were distributed in hospitals, placed on bulletin boards, and given to the patients. Every mayor of a town or city with a population above nine hundred got a letter containing literature about the Legion with a request that it be given publicity in the local press and then turned over to the Chairman of the Welcome Home Committee. Certain national magazines devoted a great deal of space to special articles explaining the Legion.

Three or four times a week the Foreign Press Bureau of the United States Government sent stories about the Legion and its activities by wireless to the ships on sea and to the men of the A.E.F. in connection with its "Home News Service." In addition to the foregoing, articles appeared almost daily in the press throughout the entire country, and by the time the convention was ready to meet those who ran and cared to read were fully informed that the American Legion was an organization for veterans of the army, navy, and marine corp; that it was non-partisan and non-political; that it stood for law and order, decent living, decent thinking, and true Americanism.

The wide publicity given to the Legion and its aims brought into the Temporary Committee many amusing letters. Scores of them complained of the published statement that it was non-partisan and non-political. "Damn it all, we want it to be political and partisan," one angry Westerner wrote. Another correspondent insisted that in view of the fact that sons of Theodore Roosevelt, and Speaker Champ Clark were interested, the Legion must be bi-partisan and bi-political. But most of the letters were of a highly commendatory character, expressing the deepest and widest possible interest. I recall that one of them came from Junction City, Kansas, another from Old Town, Maine; one from Delray, Texas, and others from Wolf Creek, Montana, Orlando, Florida, and Ray's Crossing, Indiana, while a postal card making frantic inquiries was dated Nome, Alaska, and arrived a week after the caucus at St. Louis. I have mentioned these towns and localities because they indicate how widespread and deep is the interest in the Legion. No matter where a man came from to go into the army, the Legion will go to him in his home now. Its members will range from fishermen on the Florida Keys to the mail carriers on the Tanana in Alaska, from the mill hands of New England to the cotton planters of the Mississippi delta. All who wore the uniform may enroll just so long as the word Americanism was inscribed in their hearts between April 6, 1917, and November 11, 1918.



When the St. Louisian puffed its way into the big smoke-begrimed station in Missouri's largest city I looked about me for Bill, who was going to meet me at the station. We had not met since our prep. school and college days when Bill had been a thin, wizened little fellow, so hollow-chested that he had to be sent to Colorado for almost two years for his health. He came back to school looking better but before his diploma was handed to him announcing to the world that he was a full-fledged Bachelor of Arts, he had fallen apparently permanently into the rut of ill-health. In fact I wondered, when we all sang Auld Lang Syne in the fraternity house at the close of college, if I'd ever see Bill again.

From time to time I had heard from him in the years that followed, and one day in the summer of 1917 he wrote me that he was on the way to France.

While I gazed up and down the smoke-laden platform, I got a slap on the shoulder that sent me spinning, and there was the once emaciated Bill, who seemed to have grown three inches and to have put on seventy-five pounds.

As we walked toward the taxicab stand I began to realize that instead of an old friend, a stranger was beside me. True enough, he had the same name and the same colored eyes, and his hair hadn't changed. But the rather dreamy eye had cleared, the pale face of old was tanned, and Bill's chest—the one he had gone to Colorado for—was bulging out as he carried my two heavy suit cases like a pouter pigeon's at a poultry show.

What had happened to Bill? The little, quiet, timid youth of the past was now a big, burly, strong-bodied, clear-minded man. As we entered the taxi he was telling me that he "intended to raise hell if they didn't take some action against this blank Bolshevism, and furthermore that this new Legion was going to be the most tremendous organization that the U.S.A. had ever seen." If he had told me that Swinburne's Faustine was written in iambic hexameter it would have sounded more like old times. But here was a new man, strong and virile, intensely interested in the future of his nation.

What had happened to Bill? Eighteen months in the army was the answer.

The advanced delegation began to arrive in St. Louis, the afternoon of May 5th. The Statler and Jefferson Hotels were packed because there were two other conventions in progress. But our delegates needed no badge to be distinguished from the others; there was a difference between them and the other conventionites. There was the same difference between the two as between the old Bill and the new Bill. They too had had eighteen months in the army, and a coat of tan on each one's face, his ruddy frame, and general atmosphere of a healthy mind and a healthy body were unmistakable emblems.

This advanced delegation, two from each State, had been requested to come beforehand to meet on the morning of Tuesday, May 6th, so as to formulate a working order of business on which the caucus might proceed as soon as it assembled. There was another reason for this meeting also. The temporary committee wanted to avoid any appearance of having "framed up the caucus." By this it is meant that the committee wanted to be able to say to the caucus that its working procedure had been determined by a thoroughly representative body, a democratic, advanced delegation composed of men from every State in the Union. There were those critics of the Legion, who, had the temporary committee formulated the caucus procedure, would have been only too glad to have attempted to make trouble by saying it was a controlled and made-to-order caucus—controlled and made-to-order by the men who had taken the lead in it. In fact, during the early morning of the first day the advanced committee met one delegation arrived with blood in its eyes determined to wage a fight against universal military training. One of the stories circulated at the time was to the effect that the entire Legion was nothing but a blind whereby a mysterious "Military Clique" was to gain supreme power over the Legion's policies. It took but a very short while to convince the would-be obstreperous delegation that the caucus was not the convention and was empowered solely to organize a veterans' association and not to adopt policies.

The temporary committee in America determined at the very beginning that no policies would be adopted at the caucus, that the Legion at this time should follow in the footsteps of its comrades abroad in stating that neither the men here nor the men there could, as different units, adopt broad policies until a convention could be held truly representing all men who had fought in the Great War.

Colonel Roosevelt called the advanced committee to order a little after two o'clock in the afternoon, in a small and very noisy parlor in the Hotel Statler. The gavel which he used was made from wood from the rudder of Admiral Peary's North Pole steamship The Roosevelt, which had been presented to him by Colonel E. Lester Jones of Washington, D.C.

"The idea underlying the formation of the American Legion is the feeling among the great mass of the men who served in the forces of this country during the war, that the impulse of patriotism which prompted their efforts and sacrifices should be so preserved that it might become a strong force in the future for true Americanism and better citizenship," Colonel Roosevelt said. He spoke very slowly and measured his words carefully but emphasized them in a tone of deepest conviction. "We will be facing troublous times in the coming years," he continued "and to my mind no greater safeguard could be devised than those soldiers, sailors, and marines formed in their own association, in such manner that they could make themselves felt for law and order, decent living and thinking, and truer 'nationalism.'"

In this opening sentence, Colonel Roosevelt foreshadowed the spirit of the entire caucus. These service men wanted an organization not for their own special benefit, not that they might obtain pensions or offices, but that they might become a power for truer Americanism and better citizenship!

Colonel Wood, the secretary, explained in greater detail the purpose of the proposed Legion. He broached the subject of the reemployment for soldiers, a legal department for the handling of insurance claims, allotments, etc., and sketched the fundamental principles of the organization as follows:

First, its non-partisanship.

Second, that this society should be equally for those whose duty called them overseas and for those who were held by circumstances on this side.

Third, that it is fundamentally a civilian organization, one in which all ranks, be they private or general, admiral or seaman, should have an equal share and participation.

Then the advance committeemen began themselves to talk. Each one, no matter on what subject and regardless of the side he took upon it, was permitted to air his feelings to the full satisfaction of himself at least. Like the Paris Caucus, the discussion grew heated at times and every now and then the chair was forced to remind overly fervid orators that this was an advanced meeting of the caucus and not the convention. There were those present who wanted to obligate the caucus to go on record for or against universal military training, woman suffrage, prohibition, permanent headquarters, and to elect permanent officers, and each of these had to be shown that it would be unfair to the men still in the A.E.F. to take such preeminently vital steps without consulting them. Then there were those present who wanted to exclude members of the regular army and navy from the Legion; that is, to limit eligibility in the organization to those who could show discharge papers from either the army, navy, or marine corps. This measure was voted down and it was given as the sense of the advanced committee meeting that those who served in the Great War would have perfect liberty to join regardless of whether their service continued in the military establishment after the armistice or after peace was formally declared.

The advanced committee outlined the order of business upon which the caucus could proceed, named the various committees to be organized, and discussed the resolutions which were deemed wise and expedient topics for discussion.

On Wednesday afternoon, delegates from every district in the country began to arrive, almost one thousand new Bills, husky of frame, some still in uniform with the red discharge chevron on their left sleeves; others who had manifestly tried to get the new Bill into the old Bill's 1916 suit of clothes, and still others in new bib and tucker, looking exceedingly comfortable after almost two years in putties, heavy shoes, and tight blouses.

Every man came with one deep-rooted determination and that was to see that no one "put anything over" which might make an organization so embryonically useful take a fatal or selfish step. Each came, perhaps imbued to a certain extent with his own particular ideas on how everything should be conducted; but the radicalism, sectionalism, and partisanship which would have marked a gathering of these same men three years before was not present. The men who had thought that nothing good could come except from south of the Mason and Dixon line had fought side by side with woodsmen from Maine. The man who had thought the East effete had done duty on a destroyer with a boy from Harlem. Everybody realized full well that sectionalism must be abandoned whenever it clashed with nationalism; and abandoned it was, with right good will.

The meeting of the advance committeemen justified itself as a very wise and judicious action on the part of the temporary committee. Any suspicion of a particular delegation that anything was "framed" was quickly allayed after a conference with its advance committeemen. If a man from Pennsylvania suspected that anything was on foot not to the liking of the Keystone State he had only to ask his advance committeeman, Colonel D'Olier, about it. Incidentally the personnel of the advance committee was not so numerous that everybody couldn't know what everybody else was doing. As a matter of fact, everybody did know what everybody else was doing. One of the most peculiar facts of this most interesting caucus was that when it came to "pussy footing" pussy seemed to foot it on piano keys so far as secrecy was concerned and in such a fashion that usually the Star Spangled Banner was played. I know that the night and the morning before the caucus met that there were many and various powwows and conferences, a great many of which I attended, but there wasn't a one that I knew of or ever heard about, the full details of which could not have been printed in bold-faced type on the front page of every St. Louis newspaper and have reflected credit on the powwowers as well as on the American Legion.



All during the morning of May 8th that delegation was constantly getting together with this delegation; this leader conferring with that one; was this question going to come up, and what would be done if that question was tabled? Everybody interested, everybody excited, everybody waiting to see the other fellow's hand at the show-down, which was scheduled for the Shubert-Jefferson Theater at half-past two o'clock in the afternoon. Of course, everybody had found out the previous evening that every card in the pack was red, white, and blue, and that, from the very beginning of the game, an attempt had been made to keep the knaves out. As a matter of fact, they'd never been in, but the new Bills who made up the delegations to this caucus were going to look everybody over mighty carefully before any serious playing was done.

Suppressed excitement doesn't describe at all the half-hour preceding the opening of the caucus, because the excitement was not suppressed in the least. Eager, shining, tanned faces, eyes alert, heads erect, straight-bodied and straight-talking men one by one took seats which were assigned to them by delegations.

A flashlight photograph of the gathering was made, but this caucus was not one that could be pictured by the camera at all accurately. The outstanding feature of this great get together was the spirit of the men, and that no camera could catch.

Three large wooden tiers of seats, the kind the circus has under canvas, were built in a sort of semicircular fashion around the large stage. The New York delegation occupied one of these tiers; the Ohioans another, while the third was built for distinguished guests. If any distinguished guests came they were entirely put out of the limelight by the audience, for this was one show which was enacted before the footlights rather than behind them, and, with one or two exceptions the star performing took place where the spectators usually sit. In fact, the only spectators that I saw were the newspaper men, seated at tables within the corral formed by the tiers. All of them had been in the army or navy or had seen the big show abroad as war correspondents.

When Theodore Roosevelt, as temporary chairman jammed that gaveled bit of the rudder of the North Pole ship down hard on the table and called the meeting to order he got what he had never received while in the army: that is, direct disobedience. He commanded order, and there was utter disorder. It was rank insubordination, distinctly requiring court-martial of everyone present, from a military point of view—but the American Legion isn't military! And so the delegates howled joyously. Roosevelt, demanding order at this time, had just about as much chance of getting it as the Kaiser has of making Prince Joachim King of the Bronx. Somebody started a cheer, and the crowd didn't stop yelling for two minutes and a half.

"Young Teddy," as they called him, was manifestly surprised at the ovation and tried repeatedly to get the crowd quiet. He wanted to be pleasant and yet he wanted order and so between knocks with his gavel he smiled. And a very engaging smile it was, too.

"Gentlemen," he pleaded. "Gentlemen, a little order." Finally there was comparative quiet. "Now let's proceed to the business of the meeting. The floor is open for nominations for permanent chairman of this caucus."

Sergeant Jack Sullivan of the State of Washington got the floor. Sergeant Jack is a husky northwesterner who did his bit in the intelligence section in Seattle and has seen a lot of the Bolsheviki out there.

"In behalf of the State of Washington and representing the men of the rank and file of the Pacific Northwest, it gives me pleasure at this time to place for your consideration the name of a sterling patriot," he shouted. "The man I am going to place in nomination proved himself to be a one hundred per cent. true blooded American when his country's honor was assailed. He was among the first who placed himself in the front-line trenches, he was wounded twice, he was ready and willing to make the supreme sacrifice in order that this world might be made safe for democracy. I deem it an honor and a privilege, and the Pacific Northwest deems it an honor and a privilege to place in nomination the worthy son of a worthy sire—Theodore Roosevelt."

The crowd seemed to know all along who Jack meant and it held its enthusiasm in tether as best it could. But when Sullivan got to the word Theodore, the Roosevelt was drowned out in the mightiest cheer that is possible for eight or nine hundred throats to utter. The second to the motion, made by Colonel Luke Lea of Tennessee, wasn't heard at all. This time it took Colonel Roosevelt more than two minutes to get order.

"Gentlemen, I want to speak on that now," he shouted and during a lull in the cheering managed to make himself heard. "I wish to say that I want to withdraw my name from nomination—"

But the "gang wouldn't hear to it." Somebody raised the old cry:

"We want Teddy!" "We want Teddy!" "We want Teddy!" they chanted in unison. Bedlam broke loose at that. Men stood on their seats and waved their hats and handkerchiefs; some took their collars and neckties off; some wept, some cursed for sheer joy and others—I believe that when Gabriel blows his horn and all the dead arise that some of the men who attended that caucus will try to make a speech! These speeches were going on four and five at a time during the entire hullabaloo. It didn't seem to matter in the least to the speakers that they weren't being heard. They couldn't hear themselves. They added a little to the noise and that satisfied the crowd and seemed to satisfy them.

"Please, please let me talk," pleaded Colonel Roosevelt. He finally got his plea over by means of the sign language.

"I want to withdraw my name for a number of reasons," he continued. "The first is that I want the country at large to get the correct impression of this meeting here. We are gathered together for a very high purpose. I want every American through the length and breadth of this land to realize that there isn't a man in this convention who is seeking anything for himself personally; that all of us are working simply for the good of the entire country. I believe, furthermore, that what we want here is someone who has been connected with the movement only since it started on this side of the water, someone who originates from the convention."

The din started again.

"No, no, gentlemen," shouted the Colonel. "I want to withdraw. It is my earnest wish. It is my absolute determination."

But the caucus seemed equally determined. "We want Teddy!" "We're going to have Teddy!" "You got this thing going, you ought to run it." Colonel Roosevelt paced up and down the stage, trying his best to silence them. Then, during the din, one by one some of his oldest friends went to him and begged him to accede to the crowd's wish. "Take it Ted," they urged. "Take it." That underslung jaw of the young Colonel's became rigid.

"I won't do it. I can't do it," he answered.

Then someone managed to make a motion that the nomination of Colonel Roosevelt be made unanimous. It was seconded and made extremely unanimous.

"Then, gentlemen, I accept and I resign," Colonel Roosevelt said. "I want quiet for a moment here on this situation. This is something that I have thought about and have given my most earnest consideration. I am positive I am right on it. We must not have creep into this situation, in which we all believe from the bottom of our hearts, the slightest suspicion in the country at large. I don't think there is any suspicion among us that anyone is trying to use it for his personal advancement. But it is absolutely essential that this spirit be proven. I am going to stick by this from the beginning down to the very end because, in my opinion, we have got to create to-day the impression all over the country on which this organization will carry on and serve a great purpose for years to come."

Again there were outbursts of applause for the Colonel. "We want Teddy!" "We want Teddy!" the crowd cried again and again. Men ran to the stage from the orchestra seats and even from the second balcony.

"Take it, Colonel. You ought to take it," they urged.

What the Colonel answered couldn't be heard but the jaw was working and the head was shaking vigorously.

A couple of newspaper men dashed up to him.

"You oughtn't to take it, Colonel," one of them whispered. "If you don't, it will give the lie to those who are saying the Legion is being conducted for your special political benefit."

"I haven't the slightest intention of taking it," he answered back.

He didn't take it and he nailed the lie that the Legion was started to further his own selfish ends.

On motion of Colonel E. Lester Jones of the District of Columbia the nominations were reopened again.

Sergeant Haines of Maine put up the name of Colonel Henry D. Lindsley, a banker of Dallas, Texas, and a prominent Southern Democrat, for permanent chairman. Think of it! A man from Maine nominating a Southern Democrat! One of the Ohio delegation seconded the nomination. Think of that too! Colonel Claud Birkhead of San Antonio, Texas, leader of the Texas delegation "thirded" the nomination. He told Colonel Lindsley's record. The Colonel had been Mayor of his home city, and during the war had served his country so well in France that he had been awarded the Distinguished Service Medal. He and Major Willard Straight, now dead, had started the War Risk Insurance Bureau abroad and, at the time of the caucus, Colonel Lindsley was the head of the Bureau under the Treasury Department in Washington.

Minutes of a meeting usually are dry but here I am going to quote directly from them because they tell the story in the most vivid way. Fancy between the lines, please, dozens of cheers, a couple of rebel yells, a great deal of talking and shouting for "T.R.!" "T.R.!" and a Babelous babble that ebbed or flowed according to the strength Colonel Roosevelt used in wielding his gavel.

COLONEL JONES (of Washington, D.C.): "Mr. Chairman, I personally feel, and I think I voice the unanimous sentiment of this organization, that your withdrawal is a mistake. We are not only sincere, but we are telling you what is in the bottom of our hearts. We are weighing also the sincerity which you have expressed, and in deference to your wishes, which I know have not arisen spontaneously but which you have talked about for some time, regarding the chairmanship of this committee, I think we should not embarrass you further. I have one in mind who I feel is going to be a man who will do credit to this organization—"

MR. ABBOTT (of Ohio): "Gentlemen of the caucus, I think we are wasting time around here. I can't see why we can't have for the permanent chairman of this convention the man who will be elected in November."

THE CHAIRMAN: "Gentlemen, can't you see how it is? I can't possibly change my convictions. I can't go back on what I have told you without everybody, who doesn't understand the situation here, feeling that I have just come out here to make a grandstand play. I am right. I am absolutely sincere and right."

A motion was made that Colonel Theodore Roosevelt temporarily yield the chair to Colonel Bennett Clark.

COLONEL BENNETT CLARK: "It is very evident what the desire of this convention is. I know that Colonel Lindsley of Texas was only put in nomination in response to the express wishes and repeated determination of Colonel Roosevelt. I think that that explanation should be made in justice to Colonel Lindsley. I think that Colonel Roosevelt should take this chairmanship or if he doesn't want to take it he should be made to take it. (Applause.) The chair will recognize a motion to that effect."

CAPTAIN BOYCE (of New York shouting to a yelling audience): "What is the use of our acting like a lot of kids? Just one minute; only one man can talk at a time and get anywhere. Colonel Roosevelt will not take it."

COLONEL BENNETT CLARK: "The chair will recognize nobody until the convention is in order. It has been moved and seconded that Colonel Roosevelt be elected chairman of this convention by acclamation."

Cries of approval from the audience and a request for the question.

COLONEL BENNETT CLARK: "On that the chair will take the responsibility of ordering a roll call. (Applause.) The Secretary will call the roll."

SECRETARY WOOD: "The motion is that Colonel Roosevelt be nominated by acclamation. The chairman has directed me to call the roll by States. Alabama—"

A call for a point of order.

DELEGATE: "After nominations have been made and closed a roll call cannot be taken."

COLONEL CLARK: "The chair was fully aware that he was proceeding outside of parliamentary law because it was the unanimous wish of the convention."

MR. SULLIVAN: "I move that a roll call be made on the original nominations."

COLONEL CLARK: "Colonel Roosevelt has expressed to me his absolute desire that that not be done. He refuses to enter into a contest with Colonel Lindsley in any way."

COLONEL JONES (Washington, D.C.): "Mr. Chairman, the nominations were reopened."

COLONEL CLARK: "The chair is informed that while he was on the way up here a motion was carried to reopen nominations after the resignation of Colonel Roosevelt. Now nominations are again in order."

MAJOR SAMUEL D. ROYCE (Indiana): "On behalf of the State of Indiana, I nominate Colonel Theodore Roosevelt."

The motion was seconded.

COLONEL CLARK: "The gentleman from the District of Columbia has the floor. Others please be quiet."

Here I must inject my story into the minutes again. Colonel Roosevelt saw the convention was "getting away to a Roosevelt finish" again, to use a racing term, and he sent a hurry call to the Arizona delegation for Colonel Jack Greenway.

Jack Greenway followed the elder Roosevelt up San Juan hill. He wears underneath his civilian coat to-day, but right over his heart, a Distinguished Service Cross won at Cantigny.

"Jack, for Heaven's sake, tell them I won't take it," Colonel Roosevelt plead.

It was just at this moment that Colonel Clark, the acting chairman, was saying: "The gentleman from the District of Columbia has the floor. Others please be quiet...."

Colonel Jack waving one arm at the chairman and another at the audience strode to the center of the stage.

The minutes read:

COLONEL JACK GREENWAY: "Will you give me the floor? I won't keep you five minutes.

"My name is Greenway but that doesn't mean anything to you. Gentlemen, Colonel Roosevelt has said that he is not going to take the nomination of the caucus and you can take it from me that he is not going to do it. Now wait a minute. Whoa! Quit yelling! I know this Roosevelt outfit and when they say something they mean it. I followed his daddy through Cuba and I know. I saw this boy in the first division at Cantigny and on the Toul Front and I know that he means he is not going to take the chairmanship of this temporary caucus. There is a big misunderstanding about what you are trying to do. I have just talked to Colonel Roosevelt and he says that he will not be a candidate for the temporary caucus, but if, after all the boys come home at the convention in November, it is still the desire of that body as a whole, he will give the matter reconsideration." (Applause.)

Colonel Roosevelt resumes the chairmanship.

THE CHAIRMAN: "Mr. Lindsley, the gentleman of Texas is in nomination for chairman. I mean absolutely what I say. I can't do it. I won't serve if elected. What you have done will always be a great memory to my family. (Applause.) I mean that, gentlemen! I mean that! Now is there anybody else you want to put in nomination? I absolutely mean that for the good of the cause; you have got to do what I say on that.

"Gentlemen, I believe the nominations were reopened."

Now I must again put the minutes by for a moment, for Bill has come to the stage and what he says doesn't get into the minutes, although I wish his remarks were there:

"That was pretty fine in him," Bill said, pointing to Colonel Roosevelt. I nodded only, for somehow this whole thing had got to me pretty strong and I felt like crying for some unaccountable reason.

"And then he gives his family the credit for all this yelling," Bill was saying. "We like his family all right, but say, this wasn't to compliment his family, not by a darn sight. Why, you know that young Colonel's got a h—— of a fine record himself—"

But somebody within an inch of my ear was letting out a warwhoop for Jack Sullivan who had just been nominated for permanent chairman and I didn't hear the last of Bill's remark.

Sergeant Sullivan got up and tried to withdraw in favor of Colonel Lindsley, and Colonel Lindsley did the same thing and each was refused the opportunity. Colonel Lindsley then took the floor. "Comrades," he said, "I want you to know that I came here for one man for the chairman of this caucus, and that man was Theodore Roosevelt. He has refused it absolutely. I appreciate the support that has been given to my name. If honored with the chairmanship I shall be glad to serve, but it is important that we get to business immediately. I am certain that Mr. Sullivan will make an excellent presiding officer. If I had the right, I should be glad to withdraw my name in his favor. But the point is, gentlemen, let's get to business. This is the greatest meeting that has ever gathered in the United States, and it is not so material who is chairman of the meeting as it is to proceed to business."

While the roll is being called let's glance around the theater again. Most of the men in uniform are enlisted men. It is difficult to tell at a glance just what rank or rating the majority of those present held in the army or navy because in civilian clothing the officer and the man are indistinguishable. I mean to say that our army was different from most other military establishments. Being primarily a citizen affair it was really representative. It was the desire of the temporary committee that sixty per cent. of the delegates should be enlisted men and when the call for the caucus was issued that was set forth most plainly. No one seems to have taken the trouble to check the thing up at the caucus. Anyone desiring to do so can find the information in this volume. I was interested at the opening of the caucus to know just what the percentage was, but after it got into swing it didn't make any difference. No one cared. There was talk (among officers) of making an enlisted man permanent chairman. The only persons that I heard objecting to such a procedure were the enlisted men themselves.

"We've forgotten all that stuff about rank. If the officers insist on an enlisted man they'll make a mistake. We want the best man and because we're in the majority in the organization we don't want to discriminate against the officer. Taken as a whole, he was a mighty fine sort."

This from Sergeant Laverne Collier of the Idaho delegation when I asked him what he thought of the enlisted man idea. While we were talking about it the vote was being cast on Lindsley and Sullivan. As if to reecho Collier's sentiments, Sullivan got up and demanded that Lindsley's election should be made unanimous, and so it was.

Colonel Roosevelt promptly put Sullivan's name in nomination for vice-chairman. Mr. Abbott of Ohio seconded it and further moved that the sergeant's election be made unanimous. Sergeant Jack Sullivan was elected by acclamation. Then Colonel Wood was chosen secretary, the rules of the House of Representatives were decided upon to govern the procedure, and debate was limited to five minutes.

Insistence on that point was unnecessary. Our new American back from the wars has been too accustomed to action to like words that aren't concise and aimed right at the heart of the point. There was a good deal of noise and talk at this particular juncture and someone moved the appointment of a sergeant at arms. Captain A.L. Boyce of Boyce's Tigers (those young men who drilled so persistently in Central Park in New York preparing for the war) was picked. While this guardian of the peace was being appointed at least five gentlemen from as many delegations started to speak at once, perhaps against the five-minute debate rule, and in the confusion a delegate, whom Checkers might have described as carrying a load he should have made three trips with, took the platform and began something that sounded about as intelligible as Cicero's oration against Catiline in the original.

"Do I understand, Mr. Chairman, that a sergeant at arms has been appointed?" shouted Mr. J.L. Walsh of the Pennsylvania delegation.

"That's right," answered the chairman.

"Then let's have him get busy," rejoined Mr. Walsh. "We didn't come down here for a vaudeville show or to be entertained by some boob, because we've got boobs back home."

After this remark, the minutes read "Laughter and applause" but that doesn't half describe it.

Captain Boyce "got busy" and if the minutes could record the result of his actions they would probably read "Order restored—almost. Quieter, for a time."

Colonel Lindsley made a splendid presiding officer. None could have done better, but as the stenographer who took the minutes remarked (and she was convention-worn because she had attended so many): "This is the funnest meeting I ever wrote up." Right. It was the funniest meeting—funny being used in the sense of unusual as the stenographer meant it—that anyone ever saw. In fact it was unique; absolutely the only one of its kind. Because the delegates were unique. There never was anything like them in all the history of the country. They had gone into training camps like Bill, very tired, anaemic, with a shop and office pallor; and they came out of the war like Bill,—new, virile, interested, placing a value on themselves which would have been unthinkable prior to April 6, 1917.

But they placed a greater value on this organization which was so near the heart of all of them. No better proof of it can be shown than the incident which has just been described, viz., the refusal of Theodore Roosevelt to be the permanent chairman. Although I do not pretend to be able to explain the processes of thought and reasoning which led Colonel Roosevelt to take the action he did, still I do know this much! There are very few young men who would have been so deaf to the plaudits of the multitude, to the advice of old friends and to the still small voice of personal ambition as he was in refusing. I maintain that this refusal was by no means altogether prompted by anything of an hereditary nature but, rather, by the experiences and environment which had been Colonel Roosevelt's during the war. It took more than an under-slung jaw and a rugged Rooseveltian determination to refuse this great honor. It took discipline, and Colonel Roosevelt knew how to inflict that upon himself just as he did upon his troops whenever it was wise and necessary.

In much smaller, but no less important matters, did I see other men practice discipline upon themselves. I saw men forego the discussion of subjects in which they believed with all their hearts and with all their minds solely for the purpose of doing nothing that would tend to disrupt the Caucus or give the impression throughout the United States that the men who had stuck together so closely in times of daring and danger could not still stick and face, as a band of brothers in the American Legion, any perils or pitfalls which peace might hold for this country. Therefore, it seems to me that Colonel Roosevelt's action was more than a manifestation of his own sterling determination to do nothing which might hurt the Legion. It was archtypical.

Major Hamilton Fish of New York called attention to the fact that the navy was unrepresented in the offices of the caucus and moved that a second vice-chairman should be appointed from that branch of the service. A delegate from Missouri seconded the motion and amended it to read that a third vice-chairman should be appointed from the marine corps.

During the election of these officers enthusiasm reached a high pitch and in no more striking manner did the new American reveal his new character.

"Gentlemen," said one dignified delegate (I don't know who let him in, because just from the way he said "gentlemen" we all knew that once in his life he had practiced oratory before the bureau mirror), "I want to place in nomination the name of a man who is true blue—"

"Name him," shouted the crowd.

"He is not only true blue but he is thoroughly everything he ought to be in addition—" continued the orator, coldly trying to squelch the crowd.

"Name him." "Shut up." "Aw, sit down." "Who wants to listen to such 'bull' as that?"

Each of those sentences was roared by a different man.

"This gentleman is one of whom I am sure you will be proud—" persisted the orator, but at this direct violation of its edict the crowd began to scream its maledictions and Captain Boyce could not have stopped them with all his Tigers if the gentleman orator hadn't taken his seat in a most dignified manner, never to rise again—doubtless as a rebuke for the gang, but one which was thoroughly appreciated.

Thus the way of orators in the caucus!

The navy men who were nominated consisted of Goerke of New York; Goldberg, Illinois; Chenoweth, Alabama; Almon, Montana; Humphrey, New Mexico; McGrath, New Jersey; and Evans of Kentucky. The secretary took the vote by delegations. When Goerke got a vote the New York crowd yelled itself hoarse; New Mexico did the same for Humphrey; Alabama cheered like mad for Chenoweth and it wasn't long before everybody picked out his candidate and yelled furiously every time he got a vote. The New Mexico delegation occupied a proscenium box but Humphrey wasn't prominent enough there to suit his delegation. Before anyone thoroughly realized what was happening, Seaman Humphrey appeared on the stage, borne on the shoulders of two colonels! Two men who had eagles on their shoulders, U.S. on their collars, and gold chevrons on their left sleeves carried on their shoulders a "gob," a sailorman, a deck-swabbing bluejacket, as he called himself.

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