In April 1917, the United States embarked on its first overseas war - with no history of conscription, an army smaller than Bulgaria's, just two hundred agents in its federal Bureau of Investigation, and a political culture that saw little role for the federal government other than delivering the mail. Uncle Sam Wants You tells the dramatic story of the mobilization of the American homefront in World War I. In the absence of a strong federal government, Americans mobilized the Progressive Era's vibrant civil society by drawing on a political culture that stressed duty, obligation, and responsibility over rights and freedoms. In clubs, schools, churches, and workplaces, Americans governed each other during the war. But the heated temper of war quickly unleashed coercion on an unprecedented scale, making wartime America the scene of some of American history's most drastic political violence. Solving this problem prompted Americans to turn over increasing amounts of power to the federal government, giving rise to the modern American state of the twentieth century. Whether they were some of the four million men drafted under the Selective Service Act or the tens of millions of homefront volunteers - or counted themselves among the thousand of conscientious objectors, anti-war radicals, or German enemy aliens, Americans of the World War I era created a new American state - and new ways of being American citizens. Based on a rich array of sources bringing together political leaders and ordinary Americans, Uncle Sam Wants You offers a vivid and provocative new interpretation of American policial history.
Uncle Sam Wants You: World War I and the Making of the Modern American Citizen
Hardback (24 Jul 2008)
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