Nine months after the end of the war Enoch Crowder submitted his Final Report on the operations of the Selective Service System from 1917 to 1919. If the reader has not yet been convinced that the fundamental goals of draft officials at the local, state, and national levels were to protect privileges associated with property, patriarchy, and white supremacy, while providing men to fight the war, perhaps the words of the Provost Marshal General will finally make the case. This report graphically illustrates the ways in which draft officials made decisions with the intent to promote patriarchal, nuclear families and to preserve white male mastery of the material world. And in both its substance and its format, Crowder’s “Report” reveals the ways in which categorical scientific ways of ordering the world sustained the power of married white men who engaged in sanctioned economic pursuits. As Crowder reported, draft officials called only those unmarried white men whose occupations they deemed inessential to the material needs of a nation during wartime. These men they deemed expendable enough to send to kill and perhaps die in Europe. Black men, with a few exceptions, were drafted only to be sent to work on the plantations of the South. Most other men of color became officially white for purposes of the draft.
KeywordsEurope Assimilation Arena
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