this tension, but even this strategy failed to promote a more democratic labor-management system and was eventually contested. These disputes over power intensified during the Cold War, as conservative managers used a fear of communism to root out those who challenged their autonomy and authority. In response, lower-level civil servants began a renewed effort in the postwar era for union recognition. Americans hence continued to wrestle over the competing cultural values associated with professionalism, bureaucracy, and democracy. Indeed, personnel managers' effort to personalize the administ rative state at midcentury reflected an escalating debate in America over the meaning of individualism and equality in an organizational society. Subsequent social and political movements would alter the terms, but not the substance, of the debate. Nevertheless, the successful expansion of state power at midcentury would raise the stakes for all those affected by this ongoing struggle.
This concern with the credentials of government workers was a relatively recent development in the 1930s. From the nineteenth into the early twentieth century, government jobs were stigmatized. The general public perceived them as dull and "unsuited for men of ambition." Olivier Zunz, Making America Corporate, 1870-1920 ( Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1990), p. 39. Cindy Sondik Aron has made a similar point, although she elaborated that many men entering government employ perceived it as a means of advancing their careers and of acquiring middle-class status. Cindy Sondik Aron, Ladies and Gentlemen of the Civil Service: Middle-Class Workers in Victorian America ( New York: Oxford University Press, 1987), pp. 25-39.