Integration and Reform
T HE history of the United States during the two generations that passed between the close of the period of Reconstruction in 1877 and the outbreak of the second World War in 1939 has been the subject of a wealth of historical studies that has no parallel in Great Britain. But only slowly and imperfectly is the general structure of this period revealing itself. To the normal obstacle of proximity there has been added that of the swiftness, scale and complexity of events both in the internal history of the United States and in the history of its relations to the external world. The historian, accordingly, has had to be content with the observation of here a phenomenon and there a phenomenon of which the origin and development can be studied, while he holds in suspense any attempt to judge how their relations with one another may finally be established. And the reader of the papers and monographs that have been published may well be baffled by the disparity and deficiency of the fragments out of which he struggles to make an intelligible whole.
Certain radical changes of circumstance are at once obvious to anyone looking back upon these years; and certain changes of political temper have as obviously flowed from them. But these are no sooner perceived than conflicting forces make their appearance, and the simplicity of the explanation is perplexed. The two most conspicuous changes in circumstance have been the closing of the frontier revealed by the census of 1890 and the revolution in the external economic relations of the United States consummated by the events of the first World