From Progressivism to Prosperity: World War I and American Society

By Neil A. Wynn | Go to book overview
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itself signified the special, and temporary, nature of these developments. Nonetheless such changes were remarkable, and as departures from the norm they raised expectations and created their own tensions.

Something of the contradictory nature of wartime change and of the tensions left unresolved were captured by Woodrow Wilson in a comment to his secretary.

The war by revealing the close relationship between the individual and the state has taught us many things we did not previously know about national economy and efficiency at the same time stimulating the opportunities for individual achievement and development.

The president went on to identify one of the chief areas of conflict still remaining when he said "measures of co-ordination as between capital and labor can no longer be evaded," 46 for labor, like business, had grown during the war and was now a force with which to be reckoned. It remained to be seen whether the state would continue wartime policies and intervene to provide the necessary coordination between these opposing forces in the postwar period or revert to a more traditional position of laissez-faire.

Mark Sullivan, Our Times: The United States 1900-1925 ( New York and London, 1933), V, 489; Charles and Mary Beard, The Rise of American Civilization ( New York, 1929), III, 636; Samuel Morison and Henry Steele Commager , The Growth of the American Republic ( New York, 1950), 469-71.
George Soule, Prosperity Decade: A Chapter from American Economic History 1917-1929 ( London: 1947), 4; Robert D. Cuff, The War Industries Board: Business-Government Relations During World War I ( Baltimore and London, 1973), 1, 5-9, 149, 265; and Robert D. Cuff, "Herbert Hoover, the Ideology of Voluntarism and War Organization during the Great War," Journal of American History ( September 1977):358.
Edward Berkowitz and Kim McQuaid, Creating the Welfare State: The Political Economy of Twentieth Century Reform ( New York, 1980), 25‐ 26; Cuff, The War Industries Board, 9; Richard L. Watson, The Development of National Power: The United States 1900-1919 ( Boston, 1976), 23.
Seward W. Livermore, Politics Is Adjourned: Woodrow Wilson and the War Congress, 1916-18 ( Middletown, Conn., 1966).
Watson, The Development of National Power, 221.
Frederick Paxson, American Democracy and the World War, II: America at War 1917-1918 ( New York, 1939), 20; Army Appropriations Act in Grosvenor B. Clarkson, Industrial America in the World War: The Strategy behind the Line 1917-1918 ( Boston and New York, 1923), 491-92.


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