Josephus Daniels to Woodrow Wilson


Josephus Daniels to Woodrow Wilson


Daniels, Josephus, 1862-1948




1917 November 3


Library of Congress, Woodrow Wilson Papers, 1786-1957



Dear Mr. President

Replying to your letter asking for a memorandum as to legislation imperative to be considered at this session of Congress, I addressed you a note confining myself to naval recommendations, but I notice you say "any legislation", and therefore desire to make these suggestions for such consideration as you may think they deserve at this time:1. Next to actual military supplies and ships, transportation is the question of paRAM Ount importance. Efficient railroad transportation has broken down and the railroads have nearly killed river transportation. It is my belief that the Government must take over land and water transportation, and that the first step is government operation of railroads for the duration of the war. I believe this would mean government ownership. This is regarded by many as revolutionary. To me it seems to be the necessary step in the evolution of transportation. The railroad managers admit their inability to meet the needs even if given the increased rate. As a by-product of government ownership would be the elimination of much of the gambling on the Stock Exchange called speculation. The railroads are run by bankers who have more interest in their bonds and stocks than in the transportation of passengers and freights. The same argument would embrace the telegraph and telephone.2. There is a growing sentiment that all men between the ages of 21 and 31 ought to be in the draft, those who are not citizens as well as those who are. There are hundreds of thousands of men not now subject to draft who escape service and step into the positions vacated by American youths who go into the Army or Navy. The sentiment in favor of some provision of law, or treaty with allied powers, for the enrollment of these men will be tremendously stronger after the next draft. Cannot a way be provided now for their enlistment?3. The question of an extension of price fixing is one of prime importance. The wheat growers and others feel that it is a discrimination against them to fix the prices of what they sell and leave untouched the soaring prices of what they buy. Is it not necessary to make an extension of this power now, both because it is wise and right as well as because it will prevent a rising tide of feeling against the price fixing that has already justified the action?This may not be the time for you to press these measures, even if you should approve them, but it would seem that consideration of them will be necessary as the war goes on, and you may decide that some of them should be presented now.

Josephus Daniels

The President.


Original Format



Wilson, Woodrow, 1856-1924




Daniels, Josephus, 1862-1948, “Josephus Daniels to Woodrow Wilson,” 1917 November 3, WWP22130, World War I Letters, Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum, Staunton, Virginia.