From Progressivism to Prosperity: World War I and American Society

By Neil A. Wynn | Go to book overview

others remained, and in doing so provided not just a legacy of the depression years but of an earlier era and of a different crisis. When America became involved in yet another world war many of those lessons were to be recalled again, some to be emulated, others to be avoided.

Although the effects of the First World War were not as great in America as those in Europe—and in terms of human losses, were insignificant by comparison—they were still profound nonetheless. The war radically altered America's economic relationships with the rest of the world and affected its internal economic institutions. The pressures of war brought political departures which, although short-lived, provided the basis for conservative governmental policies in the twenties and yet provided inspiration for reform measures in the thirties. The emotional and psychological effects of the war colored domestic politics and resulted in an increased intolerance and the suppression of various groups and movements. At the same time, the war brought spontaneous shifts in population distribution and work patterns, increasing tensions and anxieties in certain areas. Although these forces often led to violent responses, the changes could not be denied. Whatever happened in the future, the place and role of women would never be quite the same, nor would the pattern of race relations. Labor affairs too were not the same after the war, and precedents for future union action were established if not immediately put into effect. While all these changes contributed, with foreign affairs, to the sense of social unrest, the war paradoxically enhanced the homogeneity of the country by emphasizing the role of the federal government, nationalism, and "Americanization." In the new relationships that developed between different groups, and between individuals and the state, the war accelerated the process of modernization and, in helping to reconcile the different forces of change, brought about the transition from progressivism to prosperity.


Notes
1.
Paxson, American Democracy and the World War: Postwar Years; Normalcy, 1918-1923 ( Berkeley, Calif., 1948), 2; " Soldier's Home," in Our Time ( New York, 1925), 91; Sinclair Lewis, Babbitt( 1922; rep. St. Albans, England, 1973), 234-38; F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby ( 1926; rep. Harmondsworth, Middlesex, 1968ed).
2.
Donald R. McCoy, Coming of Age: The United States During the 1920s and 1930s ( Harmondsworth, Middlesex, 1973), 11.
3.
Charles W. Wood, The Great Change: New America… ( New York, 1918), 9, and A. Bushnell Hart, "The New United States," quoted in "Introduction"; Robert La Follette, in Belle Case and Fola La Follette, Robert M. La Follette, June 14, 1855-June 18, 1925 ( New York, 1953),935

-236-

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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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