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ing hands. While within the boundaries of this nation there has been no destruction of property from the invasion of an enemy, yet the desolation which has covered some of the foreign countries, has been so absolute that restoration presents a world-wide task. For this re-building, our people will be called upon to supply a large part of the instrumentalities through which the work must be done. This, however is a question that will concern more directly the Federal government rather than that of the State; yet we, as one of the units of this government, must contribute our quota, by giving co-operation. Our products, both of the farm and of our industries, will be needed. In addition to this, our own upbuilding which, to a large extent, has remained dormant throughout the time in which we have been directly engaged in the world strife, will of itself demand much of our energies, in order that the requirements of the occasion shall be met. These conditions will bring about a period of activity in every line of endeavor to such an extent, as we have never before experienced. We have suddenly been called upon to change the whole bent of our thought and action from war to peaceful pursuits, but we should take them up with the same energy and perseverance with which we pursued the war and all will be well. Our products are to be distributed to the world and we must be prepared to supply the demands that will be made upon us, if we expect to take advantage of the opportunities that are ours, during the great economic upheaval of which we are now in the midst.
It is not alone our economic life that may be affected, but it seems that radical changes are taking place in the minds of many people, including some of our governmental officials as well, that mark departures from that system of government which we have been taught to idealize and under which we have prospered and grown so satisfactorily. In this new outlook that confronts us, we are not called upon to depart, either in principles or in practice, from sound American policy, and we should not permit ourselves to become possessed with that idea.
We have been fighting to make "the world safe for democracy" and a glorious victory in arms has been achieved. It now becomes pertinent for us to inquire of ourselves what kind of a democracy this victory has begotten. Is it to be the democracy of our fathers adjusted to meet the demands of present day civilization? Will it be a democracy of order without the suppression of the individual—one to promote the common good without depriving the individual of initiative, and in all things, one that is planned and executed according to the expressed wishes of the governed? Or is it to be a democracy made up of the vagaries borrowed of those who have been supporting centralized autocracy, under plans contained only in the minds of the few and to be revealed only when success has been thought assured through
advantages made possible by powers heretofore conferred to meet the necessities of the government during the time of a great crisis? America was priding herself upon the alacrity with which democracy brought itself together to make efficiency its defense, and since we have accomplished our purpose, are we to sit idly by and submit to the centralized authority at that time granted, used in advancing our government towards theories against which we have been contending? We should not remain silent when daily aggressions are being made upon reverenced institutions without an opportunity being given for the expression of the wishes of the governed. You are the nearest representatives of the people, chosen for legislative work, and while possibly you are not a direct force, you have the right of protest and the privilege of petition on behalf of the people, and woe be unto him who ignores that voice.
This message is sent to you in compliance with the provision of the Constitution, that the Executive at the close of his administration, shall transmit to the incoming Legislature a message, conveying information as to the State's affairs. This will be more of a chronicle of the happenings during the past four years, than a message brimming with advice and recommendations. It will be an effort to present to you facts, from which you may gather information that may be of aid to you in arriving at correct conclusions. It is the lack of information that causes most of our ills in governmental affairs, although it must be realized that there are great tendencies with legislative bodies to fly from the ills of which we now suffer, to others of which we know nothing, without inquiring into results. We should be as careful in ascertaining to what any proposed action will lead, as we are active in developing the criticism of existing conditions.
ECONOMIC LIFE OF STATE FOR PAST FOUR YEARS
In coping with the difficulties that have presented themselves, during the past four eventful years, it must be acknowledged that neither the State nor its citizenship were in the most favorable condition to meet the full requirements of the times, but they have been met by the exercise of great effort and by continued persistency. In these qualities the people have not failed to show the sterner material of which they are made, even to the point of sacrifice. You recall, that at the commencement of hostilities more than four years ago, what a depressing effect was cast upon the business of this country. It was widespread and extended throughout the nation. It came just preceding the harvest season in Alabama, and, although we had bountiful harvests, the markets for the products of the field and of factory were so depressed, that the outlook was indeed very unpromising. Cotton, which was Alabama's principal product, declined to about onethird of the price prevailing a few days before the declaration of
war. For months there was practically no market for the staple and the crop of that year, was forced to be sold far below the cost of production. This condition not only denied the realization of the bright prospects that were anticipated a short while before of a satisfactory return for industry, but consumed as well, the profits and savings of the preceding prosperous years. This condition continued for more than two years, although not quite in so aggravated a form as during the first ten or twelve months.
The demand for food and clothing by the allied nations engaged in the war had gradually brought about advances in the price of foodstuffs, and also to the South's great staple. The demand for munitions of war and for material and appliances pertaining thereto, enabled some industries to prosper enormously. This applied, however, to a very limited number in Alabama. In the late fall of 1916, when the demand for supplies had expanded to the point where it became necessary for allied countries then at war to rely largely upon America for assistance, and when arrangements had been made with America's financial institutions for the extension of credits to cover such supplies as might be purchased for them in this country, then it was that we began to feel the full effects of the requirements of war. Prosperity came quickly with this great demand for our products. The mining interests, which in common with the agricultural and other interests, that had been running at a loss or barely for the cost of operation, suddenly found itself unable to supply the great demand for fuel. A prosperous outlook, so far as prices were concerned, again took possession of our State. Other conditions, however, local in effect, but covering large areas, were instrumental in denying to the people the returns that ordinarily would have been their good fortune to receive. The southern half of the State, which was the principal cotton growing section, was infested by the boll-weevil in 1915, which practically destroyed the crop in that section. The cotton crop of 1915 in Alabama was only 1,025,818 bales, as compared with the production of 1,731,751 bales in 1914. In 1916 the cotton production of the State had fallen to 533,902 bales, which is only about 30% of what it was in 1914. In 1916 the farmers, after a great campaign, in order to avoid the ravages of this insect pest which had proven so destructive to the cotton growing interest, changed their system from cotton as its staple product, to that of diversification. Unprecedented floods in the latter part of the summer, coming after all expenses had been incurred for cultivation, destroyed absolutely the fruits of the labor that had been expended upon the land over a large area of the State. The farmer. however, had pursued his vocation with great persistency, thereby causing prosperity to again knock at his door. With the declaration by our own country, in April, 1917, that a state of war existed with Germany, the prices of all food products, anticipating and feeling
the increased demand that would be necessitated by this action, began immediately to take on new life and advanced to prices heretofore realized by but few of the present gneration. The products of the mines also, and those of the forest and practically of all activities representing our industrial life, were bringing returns much in excess of what they had a right to expect, only a short few months previous.
The prosperity that had reached other sections of our country in advance of its coming to Alabama, had been instrumental in drawing from Alabama large numbers of its laboring population. It has been estimated that there were not less than 150,000 negroes alone who had gone to other sections, in search of a higher wage. Consequently, when prosperity returned, it was realized that there was a great deficiency of labor. This condition, of course, has been increased and accentuated, from time to time, as the draft upon those who have been inducted into the military service, became effective. So there has been many obstacles that have worked to the disadvantage of the State, that were not applicable to other sections, which has prevented the citizenship of Alabama from being on equally as favorable conditions to meet the great demands incident to our entrance into the war. These, however, did not work to prejudice the people of Alabama against a desire to assume their full responsibilities in this crisis, or prevent them from measuring up to the full requirements of loyal Americans.
ALABAMA'S WAR ACTIVITIES
While the European war broke out about the first of August, 1914, and our own country did not become directly involved in this war until April, 1917, the nation really was, to a limited extent, in a condition of warfare for nearly three years. For many years Mexico had been seriously involved with internal troubles. The country had been so completely depleted in resources of food and material opportunities, that property near the western border became subject to the depradations of disorganized bands. Many lives had been lost and much property destroyed and taken away, in the frequent visitations of the lawless bands that infested that section near our western border. For the protection of the border states against the designs of these bandits, the National Guard of Alabama was mobilized for duty at Montgomery on June 18, 1916. The Alabama Guard has been on constant duty since that time from the day that it was brought together through the proclamation of the President., it had been kept in training at the mobilization camps, near the capitol of the State until the following October, when it was ordered to the western border. It remained on duty in Arizona and Texas until March, 1917, at which time it was entrained for its return to Alabama. A short while after the mobilization order for the National Guard
in Montgomery was issued, an additional unit, a full regiment of cavalry, was organized and its services were tendered to the National Government. It was accepted and was duly mustered into service. After some months of training it was sent to Camp Houston on the Texas border. The National Guard of Alabama, then in the service of the National Government, was composed of about 6,000 officers and men. On its return to Alabama and before demobilization orders were put into effect, conditions with the German government had become serious. The break in diplomatic relations was soon followed with a declaration by Congress, that a state of war existed. In consequence of the above, the State militia has been continuously in service from June, 1916, until the present time.
The Alabama National Guard was divided after recruiting and training for some months at Vandiver Park, which is now within the limits of Camp Sheridan. One regiment, the fourth, was placed in the Rainbow Division which was soon embarked for France and were among the first American troops to become engaged in actual warfare. The remainder of the Alabama brigade were transferred to Camp Wheeler. While stationed there the camp suffered from a severe epidemic of pneumonia. A similar scourge passed through the camp of the Alabama National Guard while on the western border. The disease in both instances was of a severe type and many lives were lost. Personal visits were made to both camps while the epidemic was at its worst, and assurance was given that Alabama soldiers were made of the right material and that when opportunity came for them to measure swords with a visible foe, they would render a good account of themselves. This assurance has been vindicated to the utmost degree, not only as it relates to the National Guard, but to the personnel of the Alabama men in general who were a part of the National Army.
The Selective Service Draft Act was passed by Congress and became a law on May 18, 1917. The registration boards were formed through orders issued by the Executive of the State and the first registration day was had on June 5, 1917. This embraced all men of ages from 21 to 31 years, inclusive. After this, commenced the work of selecting those of the registrants who were physically fit and who could best be spared from their accustomed vocations, to serve their country in the military service. These were rapidly inducted into the training camps and when the supply from this registration approached exhaustion, under an amended act, those who had reached the age of 21 years since June 5, 1917, were called upon to register on June 5, 1918. The combined number of registrants under the calls were 200,775, of which 122,995 were whites and 77,780 were negroes. Under an amended act, those from 18 to 21, and from 31 to 46, were registered on September 12, 1918. This registration was made up of