Selective Service Draft Law registration poster, 1917

Contributed by Maine Historical Society

Selective Service Draft Law registration poster, 1917

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The regular army in 1917, coupled with National Guardsmen, was comprised of about 500,000 men. The President of the United States was authorized to temporarily increase that number through selective service, known as ‘the draft’.

Men between the ages of 21 and 30 were to required register with their state. On June 1st, Governor Milliken of Maine (1877-1961) issued a proclamation: “this call to registration will come to the young men of Maine not only as the summons of law but also an opportunity to perform with spontaneous enthusiasm a patriotic duty…Maine has always been staunch in her patriotism. No flag of a Maine regiment has ever been surrendered to an enemy. On this most momentous day… I confidently summon…a triumphant demonstration that shall be worthy of our glorious tradition.”

During the first draft registration, nearly 60,000 Maine men registered. Draft boards were established, and from which came outlined exemptions, such as family obligations, religious objection, and employment in agriculture or industry. Men were divided into classes based on eligibility and numbers were drawn at random for service.

As the war continued, draft laws were amended. The registration age was expanded to between 18 and 45. By the law’s third installment, 91,943 Maine men had registered.

Governor Milliken donated this particular selective service poster to the Maine Historical Society in 1918.

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About This Item

  • Title: Selective Service Draft Law registration poster, 1917
  • Creator: State of Maine
  • Creation Date: 1917
  • Subject Date: 1917
  • Location: ME
  • Dimensions: 53.3 cm x 35.6 cm
  • Local Code: Coll. 463 #827; 2017.600.191
  • Collection: WPA broadsides relating to Maine, Massachusetts, and World War I : World War I posters
  • Object Type: Text and Image

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For more information about this item, contact:

Maine Historical Society
485 Congress Street, Portland, ME 04101
(207) 774-1822 x230

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