Fundraising and the Franchise
During the design of the memorial fundraising began. President Calvin Coolidge made one of the first donations and authorized the solicitation of funds in government offices. Despite these measures, fundraising was slow. A frustrated executive from the American Legion, Paul J. McGahan, criticized DC residents and the US Congress for not acting quicker to make the memorial a reality,
"Washington lags behind every State in the Union in expressing its appreciation of the services of its sons and daughters who ‘went to war’. Native Washingtonians have been hiding behind the cloak of Congress and Congress has not localized its treatment of veterans in the District of Columbia to the extent that is their due because of its paternal legislative relationship to the disenfranchised Capital City."
McGahan refers to Washingtonians as ‘disenfranchised’ since they were not represented in congress (and are still only represented by a non-voting delegate) and had no presidential electors. Poet John Clagett Proctor made the connection between DC resident’s war service and lack of voting rights just after the war’s in 1919,
“Let's get together, people, And everybody root,
That's how we whipped the Germans and The Austrians to boot —
Just with concentrated action, And no one can refute
That a lot can be accomplished Where all just follow suit.
We want a representative — On this we are agreed —
Some one to sit in Congress to Explain just what we need"
Frank Noyes’ brother Theodore advocated for a constitutional amendment to give DC citizens representation before the war. He lead the Citizens’ Joint Committee on National Representation for the District of Columbia. World War I slowed the campaign but it eventually succeeded in 1961, giving DC residents the right to vote for three presidential electors.
The fundraising campaign also succeeded, in early 1931.