Top of page

Exhibition Echoes of the Great War: American Experiences of World War I

James B. Aswell to Woodrow Wilson, May 28, 1918. Typescript letter. Woodrow Wilson Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (183.00.00)

Rehabilitation and Reintegration

The war injured more than 200,000 Americans, one of the great human costs of the fighting. Congress responded to the issue of those who were permanently disabled with the Smith-Sears Vocational Rehabilitation Act. The act expanded the role of a federal board in assisting disabled veterans with rehabilitation and in finding productive employment and served as a model for future federal legislation on disabilities. In this letter to Wilson, Louisiana Congressman James B. Aswell argued that the armed forces should be the proper agencies to assist disabled veterans. The president signed the act into law in June 1918.