Many Americans believe that even if the US enters the war, its role will be “merely passive,” providing the Allies money and munitions and that’s it. The US Navy is small and the army almost non-existent, these people say.
Wilson asks other neutral nations to follow him in breaking off diplomatic relations with Germany.
Guards are placed at docks, bridges, aqueducts, and the White House gates. Crews of German and Austrian steamships (31 of them) are told to stay onboard their ships (or go through Ellis Island immigration inspections), although the government denies that it has seized the ships.
Former President Taft suggests conscription begin now and be made permanent. “Conscription is needed to discipline our native young men and to teach them respect for authority. It is needed to teach our millions of newly created citizens loyalty.” He says the country will rally behind Wilson: “We are going to do everything that any country can do to vindicate its rights and show that we are a moral people and are willing to make a sacrifice to establish a moral principle.” Because nothing says “moral” like mass slaughter.
A Keep Out of the War meeting at Carnegie Hall will call for a national referendum before entering the war, as does former Wilson Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan. Bryan suggests the US temporarily waive its rights of free travel on the high seas.