From Progressivism to Prosperity: World War I and American Society

By Neil A. Wynn | Go to book overview

of academics in the think tank known as " The Inquiry," to help plan the peace.23 Among others in The New Republic circle enlisted in the war effort were Dean Frederick Keppel of Columbia University, who became assistant secretary of war, and Felix Frankfurter, the young lawyer and Harvard professor whom Secretary of War Baker invited to Washington for a weekend in 1917 to sort out problems in the clothing industry relating to the manufacture of uniforms. Frankfurter remained with the government until 1919, serving as secretary for the President's Mediation Commission, before being made chairman of the War Labor Policies Board. Frankfurter's involvement and enthusiasm was such that former President Taft described him as "the hot dog of war," and one biographer suggested that Frankfurter's reputation was shaped during the war years.24 For men such as these, the war brought recognition and a share of the power of government. For the time being, at least, they became "the spokesmen for the status quo." Even the most radical could be affected by this wartime change: Scott Nearing quoted an old-time Socialist who said:

All of my adult life I have been in opposition. I was a rebel, a radical, a socialist, an outcast. I could get no steady job, had no dependable income. Now I have changed all that. I have turned right-about-face and joined up with the right side. I am doing exactly what I am supposed to do, what everybody is doing. I'm part of a big powerful movement, headed by the President of the United States, with all the right people as members. I tell you it's great.25

It remained to be seen what effect the war would have on these optimists, and upon those who continued to oppose American involvement. Both groups agreed on one thing—that the war would bring change of one sort or another to the United States. As William Allen White said, "War will bring either a large forward jump or a large backward jump."26


Notes
1.
William Allen White, The Autobiography of William Allen White ( New York, 1946), 96; C. Roland Marchand, The American Peace Movement and Social Reform, 1898-1918 ( Princeton, 1972), ix-xi; also see Charles De Benedetti , The Peace Reform in American History ( Bloomington, Ind., and London, 1980), 79-85.
2.
Jane Addams, Peace and Bread in Time of War ( 1945; reprint New York, 1971), 1; Jane Addams, The Second Twenty Years at Hull House ( New York, 1930), 119; W. E. Leuchtenburg, The Perils of Prosperity 1914-32 ( Chicago and London, 1958), 13.
3.
Marchand, The American Peace Movement, 240-46; Donald Johnson, The Challenge to American Freedoms: World War I and the Rise of theAmerican Civil Liberties Union ( Kentucky, 1963), 3-10

-38-

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From Progressivism to Prosperity: World War I and American Society
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • From Progressivism to Prosperity *
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Note on Sources xi
  • Introduction War, Reform, and Social Change— the First World War in American History xiii
  • Notes xx
  • From Progressivism to Prosperity *
  • 1: The Progressive Era American Society, 1900-1914 1
  • Notes 23
  • 2: From Peace to War 1914-1917 26
  • Notes 38
  • 3: Mobilizing the Population for War Propaganda and Civil Liberties 41
  • Notes 61
  • 4: Organizing for War Government, Business, and the Economy 65
  • Notes 82
  • 5: Labor and the War 86
  • Notes 124
  • 6: War, Women, and the Family 133
  • Notes 163
  • 7: Black Americans and the First World War 170
  • Notes 191
  • 8: The Aftermath of War Reconstruction, Red Scare, and the 1920s 196
  • Notes 221
  • Epilogue from Progressivism to Prosperity: the First World War in Perspective 226
  • Notes 236
  • Bibliography 239
  • Index 257
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