Maryland Senator Joseph Irwin France was Congress’s primary advocate during WWI of forcing all men between ages 18 and 45 to register for the draft.
That is not to say that all men up to aged 45 would actually be forced to fight in combat. As France explained:
“The second section of the bill… authorizes the President to consider all enrolled between ages of 18 and 20, inclusive, as members of a Federal cadet corps subject to call for military and nonmilitary training and for noncombatant national service. The men between 21 and 31 by the terms of the bill constitute the Federal first line of defense corps, who may be called into military service in accordance with the conscription act already in force or put into noncombatant national service. A third group is made up of the men between 32 and 36 years of age. It is the second line of defense corps, whose members may be called upon for military or nonmilitary training or for noncombatant national service. The fourth group, consisting of the men from 37 to 45, is the Federal reserve corps, also subject to call for noncombatant service.”
France’s bill didn’t go anywhere. Less than a year into his first Senate term at the time this article was written, France ran for reelection in 1922 but lost.
As for me, under the rules of current U.S. military draft law, I aged out of the draft only last month.
Conscription of All Men Up to Forty-five Years: Senator France, Author of Bill Subjecting Them to Government’s Call, Says It Is the Only Way to Solve War’s Industrial Problems
From Sunday, February 10, 1918
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