Now all roads lead to France and heavy is the tread
Of the living; but the dead returning lightly dance.
Edward Thomas, Roads

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Representative Julius Kahn, the American Military's Biggest Booster in Congress



Julius Kahn (28 Feb 1861–18 Dec 1924) was a United States Congressman who was succeeded by his wife Florence Prag Kahn after his death. Kahn was born in Kuppenheim, in the Grand Duchy of Baden, in what would become Germany.

He immigrated to the United States with his parents, who settled in California in 1866. He initially made his living as a stage actor, but after studying law in San Francisco, he was elected a member of the State Assembly in 1892 and admitted to the bar in January 1894.

He was elected as a Republican to the 56th and 57th Congresses (4 Mar1899–3 March 1903) for California's 4th District. He was also elected to the 59th and to the nine succeeding Congresses and served from 4 March 1905 until his death in 1924.

During his time in the House of Representatives he was an advocate of military preparedness. He helped draft and secure the passage of the National Defense Act of 1916, the Selective Service Act of 1917, and the National Defense Act of 1920. He served as chairman of Committee on Military Affairs. 

At the time of his death, his wife, Florence Prag Kahn, succeeded him in Congress and served
until 1937. Both he and his wife were strong supporters of naval aviation and are credited with helping create the carrier task forces that were decisive in the Pacific Theater in WWII.

One hundred years later, Kahn has been in some political disfavor in San Francisco due to his sponsorship of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1902. An attempt is being made to remove his name from a City and County playground named in his honor.

Source: Kol Rinah Adult Education Committee of St. Louis

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