Big Steel and the Wilson Administration: A Study in Business-Government Relations

By Melvin I. Urofsky | Go to book overview

II
BIG STEEL AND THE NEW FREEDOM

T HE ELECTION OF WOODROW WILSON IMPOSED UPON both the steel industry and the government a new set of alternative courses of conduct. Where Theodore Roosevelt had been friendly to the growth of big businesses, the goal of the New Freedom -- the re-establishment of a small-unit economy -- represented all that Gary and other adherents of the New Competition believed outmoded and useless in the American economy. Wilson and his followers, on the other hand, feared what would happen to the political and social life of the country unless the march toward consolidation and monopolization of the economy were stopped.

Essentially, Wilson spoke for a middle class which believed itself being squeezed out by big business, for young men on the make confronted by monopolized markets.1 To re-establish business opportunities for this group, he proposed a three-pronged attack on the citadels of corporate and financial power. Through

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1
Richard Hofstadter, The Age of Reform ( New York, 1955), pp. 222-23; see also his essay on Wilson in The American Political Tradition, chap. x. A similar sentiment is expressed in T. W. Gregory to Josephus Daniels, February 19, 1924, in the Papers of Thomas Watt Gregory, Library of Congress, Box 2.

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Big Steel and the Wilson Administration: A Study in Business-Government Relations
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Acknowledgments xv
  • Contents xix
  • Prologue xxi
  • I- The Rise and Fall of an Entente 1
  • II- Big Steel and the New Freedom 37
  • III- War Prosperity, Preparedness, and Neutrality 84
  • IV- Josephus Daniels and the Armor Trust 117
  • V- Wartime Control and Co-Operation 152
  • VI- Price Fixing by Co-Operation 192
  • VII- Conflict over Labor 248
  • VIII- Reconstruction 292
  • Epilogue- The Triumph of Big Steel 334
  • Bibliography 345
  • Index 357
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