Ray Stannard Baker; a Quest for Democracy in Modern America, 1870-1918

Ray Stannard Baker; a Quest for Democracy in Modern America, 1870-1918

Ray Stannard Baker; a Quest for Democracy in Modern America, 1870-1918

Ray Stannard Baker; a Quest for Democracy in Modern America, 1870-1918

Excerpt

The evolution of modern America from the matrix of the nineteenth century is one of the most fascinating of historical themes. Since the Civil War increasing industrialization and urbanization had been working a change in a country that had long clung to the image of a rural society with its individualistic focus. Beginning in the 1890's the evidence of such change was too great to be overlooked or discounted, and the ongoing process of readjusting traditional ideas and institutions to an industrialized order was begun. This early period from the 1890's to the American entry into the First World War saw not only a growing realization of new problems but also the advocacy of a wide spectrum of theories and solutions. Since no predetermined, preconceived, or well-accepted pattern of adjustment was immediately available, the paths of inquiry seemed unusually open.

One of the inquiring minds spawned by this era of transition was that of Ray Stannard Baker, a midwesterner of pioneering stock who sought to come to terms with the twentieth century. Baker lived a full, active, and productive life, extending almost a generation beyond the limits of this study, but his later achievements need not be minimized to emphasize the significance of the years treated here. After his college training, Baker became a journalist, and within the confines of his profession he educated himself and made an impression upon his world. Balancing involvement with perspective, he was a sensitive barometer of his times. He saw himself as . . .

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