4
Controlling Chaos

BY 1914, PROGRESSIVISM STOOD at a fateful juncture. The movement for reform was now in its third decade, and what had begun as agitation by outsiders had left an indelible mark on mainstream American political life. Journalists, literati, politicians, clergymen, professionals, even some whose allegiances lay conspicuously on the side of business, were convinced that private enterprises needed to become more responsive to public concerns.

While this vast and varied assembly continued to call for business reform, however, another worry was coming to dominate their distinctly middle-class imaginations. Amid a burgeoning of militant working-class politics at home and abroad, fears of revolt from below began to overshadow the problem of corporate greed. "Whirlwinds of rebellion," prophesied fifteen years earlier in The Man with the Hoe, seemed dangerously near at hand.

These feelings of disquiet left their imprint on a wide range of American biographies. At first glance, Walter Lippmann, a prominent Progressive intellectual, and Ivy Lee, a journalist who became one of America's premier corporate public relations men, might appear to have had little in common. Yet the lives of both were shaped by the anxieties of this defining historical moment.

Lippmanns life, in a number of its details, illustrates one important trajectory of this period. Before 1910, while a student at Harvard, he had engaged in stirring exchanges with William James and was inspired by the philosopher's impious approach to the problem of truth. As a student, Lippmann was also rallied by urgent social problems of the day, questions like those posed by Lincoln Steffens in his 1903 McClure's exposé of moral decay in St. Louis. "Will the people

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