THE TRIUMPH OF BIG STEEL
T HE RELATIONS BETWEEN BIG STEEL AND GOVERNMENT IN the period 1917-18 emphasized several points. The war had demanded a level of performance by industry that could be sustained only through co-operation in common efforts and centralization of direction. Many of the defects of the Wilson ian program had been highlighted by the requirements of war production; what had been tentative in peacetime -- the ignorance of the new industrial order, the blindness to historical development-had become pronounced in war. The failure of the economic aspects of the New Freedom, however, was not due solely to the war. Urbanization and industrial maturation had led to the concentration of business; despite the pleas of Brandeis and other neo-Jeffersonians, these trends could not be reversed.
The experience of the war years did lend substance to the other side of the New Freedom, the belief that close alliance between business and government would adversely affect the public interest. If anything, the performance of the War Industries Board and the Price Fixing Committee bore out the worst fears of the Wilson ians. The triumph of the steel magnates resulted not from the superiority of their economic program, but from the inability of the President and his lieutenants to restrict private interests.
Throughout the progressive era, the analysis that Theodore Roosevelt had made after his interview with the elder Morgan