From Progressivism to Prosperity: World War I and American Society

By Neil A. Wynn | Go to book overview

of the "technical requirements of industrial America," but the war had certainly added to both of these. Higher education, too, expanded after the war. In 1919 and 1920 registration in universities increased by half as returning soldiers poured back into college, aided in some cases by bonus payments or grants from their individual states. By 1926 over three‐ quarters of a million students attended colleges in America, four or five times the numbers in European countries. 87

If the First World War did not fundamentally effect education, nor did it alter the American family. However, by raising issues such as education and child welfare as matters of national concern, and by opening or increasing employment opportunities for women, the war did reveal how much the family's functions had changed in industrial society. In accelerating the separation of home and work and by encouraging the allocation of certain responsibilities such as health, education, and welfare outside the family, the war hastened the trend toward modernization. Although none of these concerns ceased to be individual responsibilities, they were now recognized as matters of national importance, vital to the well-being of the community as a whole. In raising such matters the war contributed to the sense and awareness of change—and thus contributed too to the reaction—that was evident in the 1920s; it also helped to ensure that when individuals were unable to fulfill their obligations in these areas on a large scale in the 1930s, they would look to government for assistance.


Notes
1.
The "traditional" viewpoint is best exemplified in Frederick Lewis Allen, Only Yesterday: An Informal History ( New York, 1957); and see also W. E. Leuchtenburg, Perils of Prosperity ( Chicago, 1964). The "revisionist" view is expressed by William H. Chafe, The American Woman ( New York, 1972). The two most detailed recent works are Barbara J. Steinson , American Women's Activism in World War I ( New York and London, 1982); and Maurine W. Greenwald, Women, War and Work: The Impact of World War I ( Westport, Conn., and London, 1980).
2.
Joseph Hill, Women in Gainful Occupations 1870 to 1920, Dept. of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, Census Monograph IX ( Washington, D.C., 1929); Alice Kessler-Harris, Out to Work: A History of Wage‐ Earning Women in the United States ( New York and Oxford, 1982), 86‐ 116, 140-45.
3.
Kessler-Harris, Out to Work.
4.
Lord W., The Good Years: From 1900 to the First World War ( London, 1960), 278-79; Eleanor Flexner, Century of Struggle: The Women's Rights Movement in the United States ( Cambridge, Mass., 1959), 250‐ 60.
5.
Catt in J. Stanley Lemons, The Woman Citizen: Social Feminism in the 1920s ( Urbana, Chicago, and London, 1973), 4.

-163-

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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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