Jensen July 26, 2001 LONG VERSION

Democracy, Republicanism and Efficiency:
The Values of American Politics, 1885-1930
by Richard Jensen

revised July 26, 2001

ONLINE AT http://www.uic.edu/~rjensen/rj0025.htm

A. Introduction: Republican Values Shape Politics

    This chapter seeks to identify the core political ideas and values that structured political options and decisions between 1885 and 1930, asking with the goal of seeing how they unfolded and interacted to shape the politics of that era. Republicanism, and purification, modernization and efficiency, these became were central themes of the era. As a result, most major political conflicts either pitted them against their nemesis, "corruption" in its many forms, or reflected differing interpretations of the same core values.pitted different means of realizing them against each other. The concern here, however, is not so much the internal history of these ideas, but their political history: how they shaped political discourse, created issues, and changed form as the American polity, society, and economy evolved. The context of 1885 to 1930 encompassed the end of the Third or "Civil War" party system, which gave way during the depression of the mid 1890s to the Fourth or "Progressive" system. It was in turn replaced during the crisis of the Great Depression by the Fifth or "New Deal" system.

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  1. On different possible approaches, see Richard Jensen, "Historiography of Political History," in Jack Greene ed., Encyclopedia of American Political History (1984), 1:1-25; online.
    The discovery that ideas matter helps explain why social, demographic and economic correlates of voting behavior were much weaker in the Progressive Era than in the Gilded Age. As Richard Hofstadter observed in The Progressive Historians (1968), historians, influenced especially by Frederick Jackson Turner and Charles Beard, depended heavily on nitty gritty, observable, materialistic "hard" explanatory factors based on economics and social structure. However those do not seem to "work" in terms of explaining progressivism. Historians looking at the correlations of popular voting patterns, and at the collective biography of leaders, have reported weak or zero correlations between progressivism and various economic, demographic and social indicators. Thus only a handful of small ethnocultural differences can be discerned-- Scandinavian Lutherans, for example, were more supportive of LaFollette and Roosevelt; Catholics were more Democratic. Some have suggested that if powerful socio-economic factors cannot be identified, then perhaps the very existence of "progressivism" should be called into question. One statistical problem is that practically all the political leaders between 1900 and 1930 considered themselves to be "progressive" in terms of a commitment to republicanism, efficiency and democracy. If everyone was progressive, the correlations will necessarily be all low, but the importance of the phenomenon will nevertheless be high. See James Wright, The Progressive Yankees: Republican Reformers in New Hampshire, 1906-1916 (1987); David P. Thelen, "Social Tensions and the Origins of Progressivism," Journal of American History 1969 56:323-341; Mark Elton Carlile, "The Trials of Progressivism: Iowa Voting Behavior in the Progressive Era, 1901-1916." (Ph.D. U, of Iowa, (1995); Roger E. Wyman, "Middle-Class Voters and Progressive Reform: The Conflict of Class and Culture," American Political Science Review 1974 68:488-504.

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    Since 1776 America has been dedicated to the core values of "republicanism." On the one hand republicanism means civic virtue, with the loyal citizen dedicated to supporting and improving the polity. On the other it means becoming politically aroused to stop violations of republicanism.

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  2. My argument here covers Republicans and Democrats in addition to the independents, Mugwumps, Prohibitionists, Populists, and capital-P "Progressives" associated with Roosevelt's Bull Moose party. For a rejection of republicanism, historians must look to the far left wing of the Socialist party, and especially to the IWW, anarchists and Communists. They insisted class was the basic unit of the polity, not the civic-minded citizen. Some historians have assumed that Social Darwinism was inherently anti-republican, and that this ideology dominated late 19th century politics. The problem is that it is very difficult indeed to find any Social Darwinism among political, legal or business leaders. Rather they thought in the language of republicanism and of classical laissez faire of the Adam Smith liberal variety. As Thomas Cochran discovered after reading thousands of letters, businessmen almost never wrote or thought in terms of Social Darwinism. Railroad Leaders: 1845-1890 (1965). See especially Robert C. Bannister, Social Darwinism: Science and Myth in Anglo- American Social Thought. (2nd ed. 1988); Irwin G. Wylie, "Social Darwinism and the Businessmen", Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society (1959) 103:629-35; Paul Crook, "Social Darwinism in European and American Thought, 1860-1945," The Australian Journal of Politics and History, (1999) 45:110-20. Both Andrew Carnegie and William Graham Sumner thought primarily in terms of republicanism, at least after 1885; both vehemently opposed war and imperialism. Joseph Wall, Andrew Carnegie (1970); Donald Pickens, "William Graham Sumner as a Critic of the Spanish American War," Continuity (1987) 11:75-92. On the absence of Social Darwinism among jurists, see Herbert Hovenkamp, "History of the Supreme Court of the United States, vol. 8 Troubled Beginnings of the Modern State: 1888-1910," Yale Law Journal (1995): 104:2309-2343.
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    The main violation is "corruption," or the perverse use of government power for illegitimate goals. Thus republicans recoiled in horror at treason (secession in 1861, loyalty to Germany in 1917), at rejection of the principle of civic virtue (by proponents of class warfare), at caesarism (alleged against presidents Jackson, Grant, and FDR), at yielding power to foreigners (such as the Pope, carpetbaggers, or the colored races); or the creation of private domains outside the reach of state power (such as Mormon cities, or the corporate domains of "Robber Barons", with the term "baron" more fearful than "robber").

    In routine politics "corruption" meant use of government power for private financial gain, either by greedy individuals or insidious "special interests". Bribery (and selling pardons) were especially evil forms. Corruption also extended to illegitimate control of government itself by "bosses" who frustrated the civic virtue of honest people. Finally, "corruption" meant being a slave to ignorance, or, in the eyes of the more extreme republicanism, of being too timid or too traditional to support thorough-going reform.

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  3. The best overview of corruption in the Third Party system is Mark Wahlgren Summers, The Era of Good Stealings (1993) which ends in 1877. The best study of voting corruption is John F. Reynolds, Testing Democracy: Electoral Behavior and Progressive Reform in New Jersey, 1880-1920 (1988). On the political history down to 1901, see Mark Wahlgren Summers, The Gilded Age: Or the Hazard of New Fortunes (1997).
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    Republicanism meant that all public decisions had to be made in public forums, according to rather elaborate constitituional rules. It was "corrupt" for secret cabals to be in control; muckraking journalists became national heroes by exposing them. Coercion and violence were corrupt as well. The Progressives vigorously denounced lynching, and managed to reduce the number by an average annual decline of 2.5% from 1895 to 1930, by which time the practice had become uncommon throughout the south. Violence as used as a deliberate tactic by labor unions to stop copmpanies from operating with non-union workers was probably the major reason that unions failed to win widespread acceptance in public opinion.

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  4. Eventually America passed "sunshine" and freedom of information laws that minimized secrecy in decision-making. Sam Archibald, "The Early Years of the Freedom of Information Act- 1955 to 1974," PS: Political Science & Politics (1993) 26:726-731. Stewart E. Tolnay, and E. M. Beck, A Festival of Violence: An Analysis of Southern Lynchings, 1882-1930 (1995).
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    B. Civil War Closure

    The Civil War was a purification process--the treasonous virus of secessionism had to be totally expurgated from the body politic. The nation was committed to "equal rights" for all good and true republicans--but just who was good and true, and who was not, was the contested terrain. The USA fought the war to restore the Union, abolish slavery, and make permanent a modern nation-state that would never again be threatened by secession. By mid 1865, President Johnson (supported by Democrats and ex-Confederates) argued that the war goals had been achieved, the virus of secessionism was permanently eradicated, and Reconstruction should end immediately. The GOP thought otherwise--the enemy was still lurking and must be exposed and prevented from harming the nation in the future. Congress had a duty to guarantee a "republican form" of government to the South, and the question was whether the ex-rebels were truly loyal to American republicanism. Would they support America in a foreign war, or the invaders? Neo-abolitionists felt the Freedmen were more trustworthy in this regard, although admitting they needed a great deal of education to make them full citizens. (Hence the vital work of creating schools for the freedmen). By 1872, with the apparent success of the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments, most antislavery and reform leaders concluded the war goals had been achieved. They rejected President Grant as corrupt and formed a new Liberal Republican party. Upwards of half the leading antislavery figures--including even Charles Sumner--had concluded by 1872 that the war goals had all been achieved and it was time to move on. Most In 1874-75 the Democrats recaptured Congress, and Redeemers split apart and defeated the Radical Republican coalition in all but three southern states. As the implicit understanding for his election, President Hayes withdrew federal troops from those three states. Reconstruction was over; the war was won.

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  5. James M. McPherson, The Abolitionist Legacy: From Reconstruction to the NAACP (1975).
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    In 1890 the GOP waved the bloody shirt one last time, with a force bill to protect the honesty of elections; the party failed to hold together. Only a few surviving abolitionists seriously argued that neoconfederacy or neoslavery still threatened America's republican values. Senators from new western states with little memory of the War traded their votes to get silver coinage. "I shall vote against the Federal Election bill," announced Senator Don Cameron, Republican of Pennsylvania. "The South is now resuming a quiet condition. Northern capital has been flowing into the South in great quantities, manufacturing establishments have been created and are now in full operation, and a community of commercial interests is fast obliterating sectional lines, and will result, in the not far distant future, in forming one homogeneous mass of people, whether living in the North, South, East, or West." In other words, sectionalism was dying and the economic and social forces of modernization could to be relied upon to eventually resolve any remaining problems. The party system that revolved around Civil War issues was itself near death.

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  6. Cameron quoted by James Ford Rhodes, History of the United States (1920) 8:361; Stanley P. Hirshon, Farewell to the Bloody Shirt: Northern Republicans and the Southern Negro, 1877- 1893 (1962). "Bloody shirt" oratory rejected the republicanism of the white south by stressing the bad treatment of white Yankee prisoners during the war. It was neutralized by highly publicized scenes of reconciliation of blue and gray soldiers. David W. Blight, Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory (2001); Mark Wahlgren Summers, Rum, Romanism, & Rebellion: The Making of a President (2000), ch 3.
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    Southern enthusiasm for War with Spain finally silenced any lingering doubts about the region's patriotism. McKinley appointed former Confederate general Joseph Wheeler to a senior command. As his white and black troops pushed the Spaniards off San Juan Hill, "Fighting Joe" excitedly yelled out, "We've got the damnyankees on the run!" Be that as it may, there was zero support for Spain from Southern whites, blacks or Hispanics.

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  7. Walter Mills, The Martial Spirit (1931) 274; Paul H. Buck, The Road To Reunion 1854-1900 (1937). Likewise the eagerness to enlist on the part of ethnics strongly validated their claims to republican citizenship. Matthew Frye Jacobson, Special Sorrows: The Diasporic Imagination of Irish, Polish, and Jewish Immigrants in the United States (1995), ch. 4.
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    The Southern Redeemers, being republicans, found repugnant their use of violence and bribery to suppress or control the black vote. The conclusion was widespread in the white South--and in the North--that black voting led to such massive corruption and violations of the norms of republicanism that it made fair elections impossible. Repression of the black vote through bribery and violence was contaminating republicanism and had to end. The Redeemers began in the late 1880s to revise state constitutions to add the poll tax and other hurdles which effectively solved the "problem" by reducing ending black voting power to near zero by provisions that did not technically violate the 15th Amendment.

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  8. A good analysis from the perspective of a leading black politician is John R. Lynch, The Facts of Reconstruction (1913) 261-68. The poll tax was a one or two dollar tax --the equivalent of several days' pay; it was voluntary unless one wanted to vote.
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    Perhaps reformers were responding as well to the brief wave of populist insurgency among poor white farmers. By 1910 all the southern states had adopted the poll tax. Turnout plunged dramatically, and in most areas only the all-white Democratic primary mattered in the election of officials. Disfranchisement was presented as a purification of the ballot, a rejection of fraud and violence and a return to true republicanism. Instead of inciting fresh Yankee criticism, the southern policies were adopted as a model national policy with respect to Hawaii and the Philippines. After 1900 the northern states imposed literacy tests and registration requirements to purify and uplift their own electorate, and reduce the "ignorant" or boss-controlled votes in the larger cities.

    The purity of the democratic process has always been a central theme of American republicanism. Constitutional amendments regarding voting never extended any purported "right to vote"; rather they prevented the use of ascriptive or group characteristics to restrict suffrage. In the Progressive Era the focus was on minimizing the number of corrupt voters and their bosses. With the civil rights movement of the 1960s, the fear was that restrictions against corruption (such as literacy tests) were themselves illegitimate or corrupt because they were deceptive and designed to restrict groups. Purification therefore came to mean the maximum extension of the franchise.

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  9. As Sheldon Hackney has demonstrated, many insurgents hated blacks with a passion that alarmed the paternalistic planters and middle classes. Hackney, Populism to Progressivism in Alabama (1969); also Russell Korobkin,"The Politics of Disfranchisement in Georgia," Georgia Historical Quarterly (1990) 74:20-58; Richard Nelson,"The Cultural Contradictions of Populism: Tom Watson's Tragic Vision of Power, Politics, and History," Georgia Historical Quarterly(1988) 72:1-29, stresses Watson's lifetime opposition to enemies of republicanism. C. Vann Woodward, The Origins of the New South (1951) ch 12. In the 1960s race became a central issue of the Sixth Party System. As the Civil Rights Act of 1965 reversed the disfranchisement laws, revisionist historians reversed the moral polarities of the 1890s, arguing that disfranchisement had been an immoral violation of the republican principle of equal rights. J. Morgan Kousser, The Shaping of Southern Politics: Suffrage Restriction and the Establishment of the One-Party South, 1880- 1910 (1975). More generally, the new interpretation of republicanism was that it was corrupt to violate the rights of "discrete and insular minorities" -- that is, relatively weak and powerless groups. By the 1980s "racism" was sometimes depicted not just as corrupt but as an extreme betrayal or rejection of Republicanism. See Alexander Keyssar, The Right to Vote: The Contested History of Democracy in the United States (2000).
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    C. Purification and Ethnocultural Pluralism

    Most purification efforts were minimally controversial--laws against polygamy, prostitution and obscenity, for example, won widespread support. The political conflict came when a targeted group reacted in outrage, claiming that the morality being imposed was foreign to it and demanding its republican right to "personal liberty." The prohibition issue was a mainstay of state and local politics decade in and decade out during the Third and Fourth party systems, until final repeal in 1933. The pietistic drys, led by Methodists and other low-church denominations, sought to purify society and the individual through the abolition of beer and whiskey; the wets were annoyed to be subject to purification by these Puritans. Thus ethnocultural politics helped structure the voting alignments primarily by injecting religious and ethnic definitions of purity into the quest to end corruption. Liturgical ethnoreligious groups (Catholics, German Lutherans, and high church Episcopalians) rejected the notion that the state should overrule their church and set their personal standards of morality. They argued that was an unrepublican violation of personal liberty. The Republicans needed the support of 30-40 percent of liturgicals to win elections in critical states of the Midwest and Northeast, but whenever they supported prohibition the backlash cost them the election. The Democrats emerged as highly effective protectors of liturgical rights in general (and Germania in particular). Prohibition was beaten back. After a series of furious cultural-political battles in Wisconsin and other states, the consensus was reached that American republicanism could be multilingual. After the massive defeats of 1890 and 1892, the Republican leadership called a halt; they blocked pietistic amateurs who had been using the democratic local convention system to impose prohibition platforms.

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  10. Paul Kleppner, The Third Electoral System, 1853-1892 (1979); Richard Jensen, The Winning of the Midwest (1971) ch 3-5; on the consensus see Jon Gjerde, The Minds of the West: Ethnocultural Evolution in the Rural Middle West, 1830-1917 (1997); Walter H. Beck, Lutheran Elementary Schools in the United States (1939).
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    In 1896 McKinley was in a advantageous position to promote ethnocultural pluralism. The status of the most highly contentious groups, Chinese, African-Americans and Mormons had recently been "settled" (by exclusion, segregation, and integration, respectively); prohibition had been shelved for the time being.

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  11. The Mormons were persecuted and received almost no outside sympathy because their system violated republican norms. They reversed course in 1890, rejected polygamy and theocracy, and were welcomed into the world of republicanism. Edward Leo Lyman, "Mormon Leaders in Politics: The Transition to Statehood in 1896," Journal of Mormon History (1998) 24:30-54.
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    That left the liturgicals, who comprised about 35 percent of the northern electorate (compared to 40 percent pietists, and 25 percent unaffiliated.)

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  12. Kleppner, Third Electoral System, 205.
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    Liturgicals had been harassed by anti-Catholicism and language wars, angered by attempts at prohibition, impoverished by the Depression, and frightened by free silver, and disquieted by the explicitly religious moralism of the Bryanites. They could be moved. McKinley made a systematic appeal to the liturgicals, and his army of campaigners made sure they all heard his message: Jobs, sound money, no more prohibition, no more letting one ethic group use the government to insult another. McKinley broadened the republican concept of "equal rights" for individuals to mean fair play for all ethno-religious groups. All groups would share in the national prosperity, and the government would not target any of them for punishment, nor mobilize group hatred in a political cause. The strategy of pluralism worked brilliantly, as the Republicans strengthened their appeal to Germans in particular, and liturgicals generally. In 1894-96 the Republicans made major gains in all the nation's cities, and especially among Germans, who comprised from 15 to 50 percent of the urban vote.

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  13. Jensen, The Winning of the Midwest, ch 10.
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    D. Modernization

    The final element of the GOP Civil War agenda involved the modernization of the economy and the federalization of the judicial system to support a strong nation state. The Republican party operationalized this agenda through tariffs, railroad land grants, banking reforms, bond issues, and strong judicial appointments. The centerpiece was the 14th Amendment protection of corporations ("persons") in their liberty to make contracts free from excessive state regulation. This was not laissez-faire at all, but rather an aggressive program to modernize the economy and provide judicial protection. There is no question that the modernization program was remarkably successful, and that the federal courts vigorously protected liberty of contract. The program aligned the GOP with the rapidly emerging industrial and financial elite of the nation. Modernity equaled industry, industry equaled efficiency.

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  14. On judicial commitment to liberty of contract, see Owen M. Fiss, Troubled Beginnings of the Modern State, 1888-1910 (1993).
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    The Democratic party split on the modernization program. Strong support for banking and big business came from powerful Northeastern leaders, especially New York governors Samuel Tilden and Grover Cleveland. Before Bryan's crusade in 1896, the agrarian critics of modernization had diffuse support in the West and South, but never controlled the party. Financial debates were often on the agenda--especially regarding Greenbacks (paper money) and silver coinage-- but the divisions crossed the lines of party, section and industry.

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  15. Robert Kelley, Transatlantic Persuasion (1969), ch 7-8; Irwin Unger, The Greenback Era: A Social and Political History of American Finance, 1865-1879 (1964); Robert P. Sharkey, Money, Class and Party: An Economic Study of Civil War and Reconstruction (1959).
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    E. Tariff: Modernization or Corruption?

    A party system dies when its core issues are resolved and new issues surge to the fore. This happened to the Third or Civil War party system in the late 1880s. With the Fourth or "Progressive" Party System, economic issues came to the fore. Cleveland did it in 1887 with his stunning attack on the tariff. He escalated a technical tax issue to a question of fundamental American values by charging the tariff was unnecessary to the modernization of America, inherently corrupt, opposed to true republicanism, and inefficient to boot:
    The theory of our institutions guarantees to ever citizen the full enjoyment of all the fruits of his industry and enterprise, with only such deduction as may be his share toward the careful and economical maintenance of the Government which protects him... the exaction of more than this is indefensible extortion and a culpable betrayal of American fairness and justice. This wrong inflicted upon those who bear the burden of national taxation, like other wrongs, multiplies a brood of evil consequences. The public Treasury... becomes a hoarding place for money needlessly withdrawn from trade and the people's use, thus crippling our national energies, suspending our country's development, preventing investment in productive enterprise, threatening financial disturbance, and inviting schemes of public plunder.

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  16. James D. Richardson, A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presidents: Grover Cleveland, (1910) v. 7, p. 5166; Michael J. Korzi, "The Seat of Popular Leadership: Parties, Elections, and the Nineteenth-Century Presidency," Presidential Studies Quarterly (1999) 29#2 p351-xx
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    The Republicans took up Cleveland's challenge, defeated him in 1888, and in 1890 passed the high McKinley tariff. Foreigners paid the tax, not Americans, they claimed, while American manufacturers and factory workers reaped higher profits and higher wages. Praising tariffs as a positive good that would speed up industrialization and urbanization, Republicans envisioned a golden future of high wages, high profits, and a rich "home market" for farmers and manufacturers. The problem was that long run gains came after the election, and short run costs could sting at the polls. The favorite Democratic argument was that the tariff was a tax on the consumer for the benefit of rich industrialists. To drive home the point the Democrats sent young partisans disguised as peddlers door-to-door in McKinley's Ohio district. They offered to sell tinware to housewives at double the usual price, and when the women complained they were told the new McKinley tariff was to blame. McKinley was defeated for reelection in 1890 as the GOP suffered its worst defeat in history, opening the way for Cleveland's reelection in 1892.

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  17. On 1888-90, see Jensen, Winning of the Midwest; Hirshon, Farewell to the Bloody Shirt, ch 7; Rebecca Edwards, Angels in the Machinery: Gender & American Party Politics (1997).
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    In control of both Congress and the White House for the first time since 1858, the Democrats were obliged to pass a new tariff law. The unexpected consequence of winning so many marginal districts and GOP strongholds in 1890 and 1892, was that for the first time the Democratic caucus was overflowing with representatives of manufacturing and mining districts that supported high tariffs. In the event, enough Democratic senators from industrial areas cooperated with the GOP to moderate the Wilson-Gorman tariff act of 1894. Instead of slashing rates to zero it trimmed them to 41 percent from the 49 percent of the McKinley tariff. Cleveland, humiliated at this "party perfidy and party dishonor", allowed it to become law without his signature. When the Republicans returned to power they raised the rates back to 49 percent with the Dingley tariff of 1897, which stood for a dozen years.

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  18. John R. Lambert, Jr. Arthur Pue Gorman (1953), 231; Allan Nevins, Grover Cleveland (1932); James A. Barnes, John C. Carlisle: Financial Statesman , (1931). For rates, see U. S. Bureau of the Census, Historical Statistics of the United States (1976), series U 212.
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    Although the tariff was central to political debates, it was peripheral to the American economy. The tariff had three economic effects. First it was an essential revenue source of the federal government; until displaced by the income tax after 1913, it funded half the federal budget and could not be dispensed with. When Democrats supported a "tariff for revenue only," they meant a moderately high tariff. Hence tariff rates could be changed only within a narrow range until the income tax was functioning. Second the tariff supposedly "protected" manufacturers and workers from cheap imports. The protection actually existed only if there was a potential for cheap imports. After 1885 the American economy was so highly productive that nowhere did there exist factories that could undersell the USA in its own home market. American workers were highly paid, and very highly productive. The one exception was the medium-sized woolen industry, based in Boston and Philadelphia, that manufactured clothing, blankets and other wool products. They had sharp competition from British factories. In every other industry, "protection" was meaningless.

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  19. The woolen manufacturers pioneered interest group politics. They had cut a deal in the 1860s with western sheep growers so that a high tariff on raw wool protected the ranchers, while a high tariff on finished goods protected both the factories. Cheap imports of raw wool (from Australia) and finished woolens (from Britain) remained a threat well into the twentieth century. Woolen goods were exceptional: they were one of the very few manufactured products that was produced more cheaply abroad; furthermore Australian ranchers produced a higher quality, cheaper clip. In terms of capital investment, woolens represented about 3 to 4 percent of American manufacturing. Howard K. Beale, The Critical Year (1930), 279-97; F. W. Taussig, Tariff History (1931); Taussig, Some Aspects of the Tariff Question (1931); Bennett D. Baack, and Edward John Ray, "The Political Economy of Tariff Policy," Explorations in Economic History (1983) 20: 73-93.
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    Thirdly, the tariff was a tax on imported raw materials, produced by farms or mines, such as sugar, raw wool, coal, lumber, hides and wheat. In general America was the low-cost producer in each area, but not always. From time to time a "glut" on the world market would make a particular commodity very cheap. American producers--chiefly farmers, ranchers, miners, or lumbermen--then faced an economic threat. On the other hand, these raw materials were purchased not by consumers but by American factories that refined sugar, or made wool or leather or other products. The factory owners wanted the cheapest product, and in turn they would pass along part of the savings to consumers. All of this economics was politically irrelevant. Politicians debated in a fantasy world in which hordes of European manufacturers were poised to flood the American market with goods that were either produced by pauper labor (said Republicans) or goods that would lower the cost of living to American consumers (said Democrats). In reality by 1885 Europe could no longer hope to compete with American advantages of large efficient factories, huge capital investment, vast internal markets, cheap internal transportation, ample raw materials, sophisticated advertising, and highly competitive retail distribution systems, not to mention a hundred million more affluent and more cost-conscious consumers. America had become the low cost, high volume producer of manufactured goods, with large aggressive corporations capable of moving their product. It was the British who watched in stunned horror as cheaper American products flooded their home islands. Wailed the London Daily Mail in 1900, "We have lost to the American manufacturer electrical machinery, locomotives, steel rails, sugar-producing and agricultural machinery, and latterly even stationary engines, the pride and backbone of the British engineering industry."

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  20. Britain had free trade, with no tariffs or restraints. One British response to the American challenge was the "tariff reform" movement led by Joseph Chamberlain, which sought to impose tariffs aimed primarily at American goods, while promoting trade within the Empire. The British electorate soundly defeated the idea in 1906, turning the government over to the free-trade Liberals. By 1900 German businessmen faced the "horrid apparition" of American competition in steel. Quotes from consular reports in US Department of State, Commercial Relations... 1900 (1901) 2:325, 974.

    The American market for British iron, steel and machinery collapsed in the 1870s as American producers became much more efficient. Appleton's Annual Cyclopedia: 1877 (1885) 127. However the tariff on steel perhaps did raise the cost of steel rails to American railroads before 1895; Taussig Some Aspects., 141-42. See also Bennett D. Baack and Edward John Ray, "Tariff Policy and Comparative Advantage in the Iron and Steel Industry: 1870-1929," Explorations in Economic History (1974), 11:33-51.


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    The charges, endlessly repeated, that the tariffs raised prices, diverted excess profits to the rich, fostered inefficiency, or were "the mother of trusts" provided excellent campaign fodder; all were completely untrue. There never was a wool trust, for example; the industry comprised many small and medium factories. Conversely, the Republicans were simply wrong when they argued after 1887 that high tariffs promoted infant industries, protected established ones, promoted modernization generally, raised workers' wages and protected them from low-wage competition, raised profits, and fostered a rich home market for farm goods. The tariff (apart from wool) had little real economic impact one way or the other. Regardless of the economics, the rhetoric was highly convincing to politicians and voters alike, and the fight between high and low tariff advocates remained a central theme issue throughout the Fourth party system.

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  21. The solution of depoliticizing the issue by turning it over to experts was repeatedly rejected, until 1916. James Ford Rhodes, History of the United States (1920) 8:172-8; Dorothy Ganfield Fowler, John Coit Spooner (1961) 208; Karen Schnietz, "Democrats' 1916 Tariff Commission: Responding to Dumping Fears and Illustrating the Consumer Costs of Protectionism," Business History Review, (1998) 72:1-45.
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    F. Big Business: Modernity or Corruption?

    The railroads were the great industry of the late 19th century, with enormous concentrations of money, lawyers, employees and contractors. To what extent would these economic giants become political giants as well, lording it over ordinary men? Because of the geography involved, different states and regions confronted the issue at different times. In California, the progressive movement focused more on the railroad issue than any other state. In nearly every state, however, fears grew stronger that the railroads had become political monsters that devoured democracy.

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  22. William Deverell, Railroad Crossing: Californians and the Railroad, 1850-1910 (1994); David P. Thelen, The New Citizenship: Origins of Progressivism in Wisconsin, 1885-1900 (1972).
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    The 1880s saw the alarming emergence of trusts--that is, conglomerates that bought out small locally-owned factories, and merged them into conglomerates that tried to monopolize an entire industry. Supreme Court Justice John Marshall Harlan, a conservative Republican, later recalled the "deep feeling of unrest":

    The conviction was universal that the country was in real danger from another kind of slavery... that would result from the aggregation of capital in the hands of a few individuals controlling, for their own profit and advantage exclusively, the entire business of the country.... All felt that it must be met firmly and by such statutory regulations as would adequately protect the people against oppression and wrong.
    The Interstate Commerce Act of 1887, and especially the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, passed almost unanimously in 1890, reflected a national consensus that monopoly was dangerous to democracy. Furthermore it was inefficient, because people though competition was the "natural" order. The "free labor" credo of republicanism was expanded to encompass free enterprise--the right of the businessman to operate without unfair competition or being forced to sell out. As Ohio Senator John Sherman put it, "If we will not endure a king as a political power we should not endure a king over the production, transportation, and sale of any of the necessaries of life."

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  23. From Harlan's opinion in the Standard Oil case 1911 [221 US 83], in which Standard Oil was broken up largely on the basis of its scandalous activities in the 1880s. The intellectual mood of the 1880s is well covered in Hans B. Thorelli, The Federal Antitrust Policy (1954); see p. xx for Sherman quote. Robert Bork has argued that Congress was solely concerned with "efficiency." He ignored the republican rhetoric about protecting free enterprise which dominated the debate, because it made no sense to him. Robert H. Bork, "Legislative Intent and the Policy of the Sherman Act." Journal of Law and Economics, (1966), 9: 7-48. For a refutation of Bork, see Robert H. Lande, "Wealth Transfers as the Original and Primary Concern of Antitrust: The Efficiency Interpretation Challenged," 34 Hastings L.J. 65 (1982) available online. See also Christopher Grandy, "Original Intent and the Sherman Antitrust Act: A Re-Examination of the Consumer-Welfare Hypothesis," Journal of Economic History (1993) 53:359- 376; Thomas W. Hazlett, "The Legislative History of the Sherman Act Re-Examined," Economic Inquiry (1992) 30:263-276; Elizabeth Sanders, Roots of Reform: Farmers, Workers, and the American State, 1877-1917 (1999) ch 8.
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    A central element in republican citizenship was "independence." Could a corporate employee of a big trust be truly independent, or would he be a servant to the will of his economic master? Antitrust rhetoric warned repeatedly of the danger, but seems not to have been based on careful analysis or experience. Claims in 1896 that corporations coerced employees fell flat--not a single example was offered. In reality, corporations created a bureaucratic system of employee relationships that guiaranteed a sort of due process, as well as a well-defined system of advancement. Bureaucrats had as much or more freedom of political choice.

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  24. On coercion in 1896, see Jensen, Winning of the Midwest ch2. On actual employment practices, see Walter Licht, Working for the Railroad: The Organization of Work in the Nineteenth Century (1983) and Olivier Zunz, Making America Corporate, 1870-1920 (1990); on the rhetoric, see Robyn Muncy, "Trustbusting and White Manhood in America, 1898-1914," American Studies 1997 38(3): 21- 42.
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    G. Republican Money

    Federal monetary and banking policy has played a major role in the economy ever since the Civil War, and these issues proved popular with the electorate because they tied personal economic well-being to the great themes of republicanism and efficiency. The national banking system set up during the Civil War gave the nation a solid institutional base for industrial growth. Banks had been a major partisan issue during the Jeffersonian and Jacksonian eras. But in the Third and Fourth systems, banking issues exploded only once, in 1896. That year Bryan realigned the issues by directly challenging the banks--which he identified as corrupt instruments of fraud and political repression.

    The money issue after the Civil War played out against falling prices. In economic terms, the deflation that steadily lowered prices had little adverse economic impact. The only possible harm, as pointed out repeatedly by Populists in the early 1890s claimed that steady deflation made interest payments on mortgages more burdensome--which was true to the small degree in which deflation was faster than expected. However this negative effect was far less damaging to farmers than the collapse of international markets for cotton and wheat. [To the extent that people *expected* prices to fall steadily, the decline was incorporated into mortgage rates. It is only an *unexpected* change in prices that causes damage.] Politically much more important was the demand for free silver. The silverite leaders--especially charismatic William Jennings Bryan--identified the international banking system and the gold standard as inherently evil, corrupt, "un-American" and inefficient to boot. The free coinage of silver promised to break the power of the bankers, put money in the pockets of miners and farmers (and eventually, wage earners too), and relieve the terrible depression. Economically the silverites were out of touch with reality. Their central argument was that the supply of gold grew too slowly, making more powerful every year the bankers who controlled the gold. In fact by 1890 a new "currency" had largely displaced gold--bank checks. While of course many transactions till took place in paper money and gold coins, the vast bulk of the nation's business was transacted through checking accounts. This hocus pocus alarmed the silverites, who denied its importance and promised to abolish paper money issued by bank. The Republicans met the silverite challenge head-on in 1896. They refuted the silverite's monetary ideas, demonstrated that free silver would bankrupt the railroad system (which had to pay its bonds and mortgages in gold), and would be of no benefit to workers. Worse of all, free silver was a repudiation of honesty, they argued: a bald-faced raid on private wealth that violated the commandment, "Thou Shalt Not Steal!" Taking a positive approach, McKinley argued that real economic recovery meant reopening the factories. getting the industrial economy moving again, and restoring the rich home market for farm products.

    To answer the silverite charge that gold was inherently corrupt because it gave the rich bankers too much political power, the Republicans took a new and powerful tack: prosperity was the true test of national policy, not inequality. Cleveland had failed the prosperity test, and Bryan would make it even worse. McKinley's policies, the GOP argued, would make everyone more prosperous. They did not deny that the rich would indeed become richer. They warned voters instead that with free silver you will be poor and -- pointing to the silver-based economies of Mexico, China and Japan--your children will become paupers. Bryan was whipped on the silver issue; by the latter part of the campaign he had retreated to the argument that McKinley would bring about an oligarchy that would destroy republicanism.

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  25. Jensen, The Winning of the Midwest, ch 10; Stanley L. Jones, The Presidential Election of 1896. (1964); Gretchen Ritter, Goldbugs and Greenbacks: The Antimonopoly Tradition and the Politics of Finance, 1865-1896 (1997).
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    H. Realignment and New Rules

    The realignment of the 1890s cleared the stage for the Progressive Era by resolved the main issues of the Civil War era, and by installing in power for four decades a party committed to continuing modernization. The depression during Cleveland's second term destroyed the Democratic party's claim to be the best manager of an industrial economy. It validated McKinley's argument that unless the GOP controlled economic policy, America would suffer poverty, economic backwardness and a general failure to attain the opportunities that lay within the grasp of an enterprising people.

    Bryan, however, did succeed in redefining the corruption issue. Whereas the Third party system had defined corruption in terms of secession and personal greed, attention now turned to the political party as the vehicle of corruption. This was possible because party loyalties had been weakened by the roller-coaster ride of the electoral returns in the 1890s. Because the realignment of 1896 seemed to guarantee continuation of government in the hands of the modernizers, reformers inside the GOP, such as governors Pingree of Michigan, LaFollete of Wisconsin, Cummings of Iowa, Johnson of California, and Roosevelt and Hughes of New York, now had more maneuver room to focus on corruption.

    The Populists had come close to a direct challenge of the modern economy, but Bryan drew back, arguing that he only wanted to remove the corruptions and distortions, and enable the true wealth-creators--farmers, laborers, small businessmen-- to get the job done.

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  26. Populists have fascinated historians because they combined intense republicanism with a a whiff of radicalism and enthusiastic rejection of pro-business modernization; Thomas Goebel, "The Political Economy of American Populism From Jackson to the New Deal," Studies in American Political Development 11 (1997): 9-148.
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    After 1896 the economy revived, and with the fulfillment of McKinley's promise of a full dinner pail, the GOP position was vindicated. Industrial America now voted Republican--including most workers in factories, mines, mills and railroads, together with the engineers, foremen, superintendents and financiers of industry.

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  27. For voting patterns, see Dale Baum, The Civil War Party System The Case of Massachusetts 1848- 1876 (1984); James Wright, The Progressive Yankees Republican Reformers in New Hampshire, 1906-1916 (1987); Samuel T. McSeveney, The Politics of Depression: Political Behavior in the Northeast, 1893-1896 (1972); Jensen, The Winning of the Midwest; Paul Kleppner, Third Electoral System.
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    Changes in party systems are realignments that involve changes in leaders, rules of the game, voter alignments, and issues. Typically only a handful of political leaders survive the realignment. Of the couple dozen top party leaders in 1890, only William McKinley was still a major player a decade later; every other major figure in 1900 was a new face.

    The most dramatic rules change redefined who could vote. The strong trend was toward purification of the electorate to enhance true republicanism and suppress corrupt voting. This allowed for woman suffrage (1920), but otherwise the trend was restrictive. Black voters were disenfranchised in most of the deep South (but not in the border states or North), along with some poor white voters in the South. The Australian ballot (around 1890) and registration laws in large cities (after 1900) made voting more difficult for machines to control, and more difficult to navigate for men who could not read English. Furthermore, the dominant style of campaigning switched away from the "army" style, which assumed nearly every man was a committed partisan, so that the function of the campaign was to rally supporters and guarantee a high turnout. By 1892 the predominant campaign style was the "advertising" approach, which assumed that voters were not pre- committed to one party or the other, but could be convinced through advertising campaigns that this party or that candidate was the one to vote for.

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  28. Michael McGerr, The Decline of Popular Politics: The American North, 1865-1928 (1986).
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    The rise of independent newspapers and Muckraking magazines around the turn of the century changed the media rules of the game of politics by weakening parties, and giving crusaders direct access to the public, unmediated by politicians. Before 1896 over 90 percent of the nation's newspapers were party organs, devoted to providing useful information to leaders and the rank-and-file. Editors and publishers were typically party leaders; they often were rewarded with lucrative postmasterships, and occasionally won nomination to national office as in 1920 for both Warren Harding and James Cox. Bryan in 1896 had amazing little newspaper support; he solved the problem by becoming the first candidate ever to barnstorm the country; by making himself newsworthy he forced hostile papers to report his speeches.

    By 1898 publishers in major cities discovered that they could build their fortune (and enhance their political power) by achieving high circulations, which in turn would pull in advertising revenue. During the heady days of the War with Spain, William Randolph Hearst's New York Journal and Joseph Pulitzer's New York World sold upwards of a million copies a day on the streets of the metropolis. Being tied to one party meant relinquishing half their potential audience, so the move was on to political independence. Whereas a party newspaper could be counted on to expose the enemy's corrupt practices and defend its own people, an independent would profit by exposing both sides, and by endorsing candidates from both parties. Hearst tried in 1906 to leverage his media power into the governorship of New York. Winning the Democratic nomination, he crusaded as a progressive against corruption. He lost narrowly to a Republican crusader, Charles Evans Hughes. The rise of high-circulation, high-budget national magazines early in the century created for the first time a national market for exposure of corruption, duly provided by celebrity journalists. The readership was primarily middle class with a strong commitment to modernity and a loathing of corruption and waste. Bryan, LaFollette and Roosevelt edited national magazines to keep open a direct line of contact with their supporters. Thus by 1900-04 a media revolution had set the stage for nationalizing the purification of politics, in nonpartisan fashion. By the end of the Fourth Party System national and regional newspaper chains centralized editorial policies in the hands of 60 or so publishers, who reached over third of the nation's readers. Hearst, the most flamboyant, was considered the most powerful. He helped nominate Franklin Roosevelt in 1932; by 1935 he was instructing his editorial writers to attack the "Raw Deal" every day.

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  29. David Nasaw, The Chief: The Life of William Randolph Hearst (2000); Ben Proctor, William Randolph Hearst: The Early Years, 1863-1910 (1998). Hearst tried to seize control of the progressive movement, but was widely distrusted as an opportunist who was too self-centered to cooperate with collective movements. More representative of progressive journalism was William Allen White of Kansas, who boosted small town virtues and led purification crusades. Sally Foreman Griffith, Small Town News: William Allen White and the Emporia Gazette (1989). Three-fourths of the country's newspapers opposed FDR's reelection in 1940, but he successfully shifted his communications base to radio. Frank Luther Mott, American Journalism (1950), 719-20, 793.
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    The combination of new restrictions and a decreased emphasis on turnout had the effect of sharply lowering average turnout rates. In New York state, for example, turnout had averaged 88 percent of those eligible in presidential elections from 1840 through 1900, and now slipped to 72 percent in 1912, bottoming out after woman suffrage at 56 percent in 1920 and 1924.

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  30. Paul Kleppner, Who Voted? The Dynamics of Election Turnout, 1870-1980 (1982).
    ---- -

    Woman suffrage, after decades in the doldrums, surged as a movement after 1900 when a younger generation downplayed the "equal rights" republican rhetoric of 1848 and emphasized the efficiency of having mothers and housewives-as-experts help decide questions of municipal housekeeping, schooling and child welfare. The woman club movement was essential to fostering the sense of efficiency at social engineering, as were the many muckraking articles in the "Big Six" woman's magazines. The opponents of woman suffrage argued that it would defeminize women and thus violated the norms of republican motherhood, that wives and daughters would be controlled by their menfolk and thus not be independent citizens, and that because women could not fight in the army they could not become full citizens. To gain suffrage women had to demonstrate that as a group they possessed the requisite republican qualities of virtue, intelligence, independence and service. Everyone agreed that women were naturally more virtuous than the men; the suffragists said this would help purify politics, the antis warned the inherent corruptions and evils of politics would degrade and defeminize women. The intelligence of women was underscored by their educational achievements--most male voters by 1910 had been taught by women teachers, after all--and by a feminist warnings about the ignorance of male immigrants. Were women independent of their husbands, brothers and fathers? Financially the answer for the vast majority of women over 21 was "no." Antis imagined a dystopia after woman suffrage in which the breadwinner-as-family head demasculinized men as women started "wearing the pants in the family." However, the feminists succeeded in rephrasing the question, by arguing they had different political interests--that women were "naturally" more interested than men in such vital public issues as municipal housekeeping, public health and the schooling of children--not to mention prohibition. True citizens fight for their country, and the issue of military service would haunt feminism for the rest of the 20th century. Aggressive British feminists who practiced violent action did not help the cause. What did the job was the remarkable wartime effort of housewives, mothers wives and girlfriends who enthusiastically supported the war effort, made major contributions in critical areas such as food supplies, and without tears sent their menfolk into war. Suffrage at the war's end was the inevitable reward.

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  31. Aileen Kraditor, Ideas of the Woman Suffrage Movement (1965); Gayle Gullett, Becoming Citizens: The Emergence and Development of the California Women's Movement, 1880-1911 (2000); Kathleen L. Endres, "Women and the 'Larger Household': The 'Big Six' and Muckraking," American Journalism (1997) 14:262-282. For the antis, see Manuela Thurner, "'Better Citizens Without the Ballot': American Antisuffrage Women and their Rationale during the Progressive Era," Journal of Women's History. (1993) 5:33- 60.
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    I. Modernization as Progressive Efficiency

    After 1890 "modernization" came to mean a search for efficiency--the elimination of waste, the discovery of the one best way of solving problems.

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  32. On the use of the word "efficiency," see John M. Jordan, Machine-Age Ideology: Social Engineering and American Liberalism, 1911-1939 (1994); Herbert N. Casson, "The Story of Emerson, High Priest of the New Science of Efficiency," The American Review of Reviews (Sept 1913) 48:305-15.
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    Ignorance was the problem and education was their favorite cure- all. The progressives dramatically expanded the educational system at all levels, with Andrew Carnegie's famous libraries providing access to knowledge for autodictats. Implicit in efficiency was the quest for modernization: the systematic transformation of the old into the new. The progressives assumed that if a practice or institution was old it must therefore be riddled with waste and inefficiency. The enemy was ignorance, and the progressives always insisted that the long run solution to every problem, even the most intractable, was education.

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  33. Stunned by allegations that it had failed to develop a republican citizenship, the African-American community turned toward education as the surest path to full republican citizenship. Booker T. Washington was the dominant figure, with his argument for broad-based industrial education, while a minority, led by W.E.B. DuBois, recommended more advanced "classical" study by what he called "the Talented Tenth." White philanthropists reassured African Americans that education would eventually overcome racism. As Carnegie argued, "I say to our colored friends, seek ye first education and all rights will soon be added to you in this country." Carnegie's April 5, 1906 address quoted in Louis R. Harlan, Booker T. Washington: Wizard of Tuskegee, 1901-1915 (1983) 2:139. Booker T. Washington was the outstanding exemplar of how to rise "up from slavery" through a work ethnic, self-help, a stress on education and self-improvement, and much less talk of rights, demonstrations or protest. That made him a hero for the Progressive Era, and a villain during the Sixth party system, when the central evil of the 1890s was discovered to be the racism that Washington seemed too willing to tolerate. On the turn to education among depoliticized African Americans, see Glenda Gilmore, Gender and Jim Crow: Women and the Politics of White Supremacy in North Carolina, 1896-1920 (1996). Ibid 2:142
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    The remarkable success of economic modernization in the last years of the 19th century, together with its massive political reaffirmation in four consecutive elections 1894-96-98-1900, encouraged America to broaden the concept to cover all forms of social and political modernization, and to sharpen it to attribute success to efficiency. The engineer as exemplar--even hero--of efficiency seized the public imagination--none more so than Henry Ford in industry, Thomas Edison in invention, Frederick Winslow Taylor in engineering, and Herbert Hoover in public service. Many movements flourished as they followed the suffragists and downplayed moralistic attacks on corruption in favor of an emphasis on efficiency instead. They included prohibition (drunkenness was bad for productivity), world peace (arbitration, conducted by experts, would replace warfare), philanthropy (where Rockefeller demonstrated the value of specialized welfare experts), medicine (revolutionized by the Flexner Report of 1910), civil service reform at the state and local levels, municipal reform, public health, and numerous other areas. Booker T. Washington gained national fame for his "Atlanta Compromise" of 1895, whereby African Americans would concentrate on making themselves more productive and efficient, in order to first modernize their communities and themselves, while underplaying political confrontations or assertions of equal rights. The debate over the Philippines in 1900 polarized between an older generation of moralists who thought government without consent of the governed violated a core value of republicanism, and a younger generation that discovered a national duty to modernize and make more efficient the backward races.

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  34. Robert Beisner, Twelve Against Empire: The Anti-Imperialists, 1898-1900 (1968).
    -- ---

    In personnel management the American style looked for new, systematic ways to remove waste and find better, faster, cheaper ways to accomplish objectives. Frederick Winslow Taylor brought the stop watch to the shop floor, measuring every wasted second or useless motion, and thereby and inspired thousands of engineers to emulate his search for scientific management. Accompanied with the invention of new accounting techniques management now could measure inputs and outputs on a systematic basis, and better define profit maximization. They discovered that Ford was right--pay high wages, get much higher productivity from workers and machines, and profits will soar fastest of all. Some left-wing unions, distrustful of efficiency, opposed "Taylorization" as a benefit to management and a threat to worker solidarity. In actual operation most workers identified industrial efficiency with higher productivity, greater use of machines, more complex organizations and, starting in 1910, with Henry Ford's highly efficient assembly lines and $5 days. Socialism never had a chance against high wages. By the 1920s major corporations had adopted "personnel management" programs top identify and keep the best workers with a combination of higher wages, attractive fringe benefits, company unions, and bureaucratic policies that minimized autocratic foremen.

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  35. Daniel Nelson, Managers and Workers: Origins of the Twentieth-Century Factory System in the United States, 1880-1920 (2nd ed. (1996). Alfred D. Chandler, The Visible Hand (1977), 272-81; David L. Lewis, The Public Image of Henry Ford: An American Folk Hero and His Company (1976).
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    The political implication of scientific management was that in the modernized sector of the economy--especially the factories--workers rarely joined unions and seldom became politically active as a working class. The Catholic Church played a major role in warning against Socialism. Not only did the atheism of the militants bother the bishops, but they had the challenge of proving their devotion to both Rome and republicanism. Most of the industrial districts in the Northeast were Republican strongholds (except of course for Irish Catholic Democratic enclaves), and indeed preferred Taft over TR in 1912. The protective tariff as the protector of high industrial wages protected the GOP base.

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  36. Gary Wolfe Marks and Seymour M. Lipset, It Didn't Happen Here: Why Socialism Failed in the United States (2000); Joseph A. McCartin, Labor's Great War: The Struggle for Industrial Democracy and the Transformation of the American Workplace, 1912-1921 (1997), 50-54; Richard Oestreicher, "Urban Working-Class Political Behavior and Theories of American Electoral Politics, 1870-1940," Journal of American History (1988) 74:1257-1286. In November 1912 Taft outpolled TR in most of the mill towns of the northeast, while TR did better in the middle class cities.
    Those industrial sectors least affected by the efficiency movement, such as coal mining, construction, street railways and the garment trades, by contrast showed high levels of strikes and political activism. In the 1930s, the latter groups, led especially by John L. Lewis of the coal miners, and Sidney Hillman of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers, created the CIO and systematically organized and politicized the workers in steel, autos, rubber and other great industries. The New Deal thus had a strong industrial base of unionized workers. Steven Fraser, Labor Will Rule: Siney Hillman and the Rise of American Labor (1991); Robert Zieger, The CIO, 1935-1955 (1995).

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    Compulsory school laws and restrictions on child labor forced school attendance on students regardless of individual dislike for studies or preference for immediate cash income over deferred rewards. The resistance to compulsory education was passive--a matter of dodging truant officers, and neglecting school assignments. Child labor, however, was a contested area, with intense emotional interests at stake, underlined by the brilliant photographs of Lewis Hine. Besides "lost" opportunities for uprooting ignorance, child labor arguments covered the right of private parties to make contracts, the health and safety of minors, parental control of their children, the availability of cheap labor for southern textile mills, or the street sales of newspapers in cities, and the role of the ethnocultural community in protecting its youth. There was much hand-wringing about lazy fathers living off the wages of their children, and lazy children claiming legal protection for their leisure pursuits. Wilson's Congress prohibited child labor, but it was overturned by the Supreme Court. Advocates stressed the greater efficiency that could be achieved through human capital, as well as the republican need for an educated citizenry. Opponents, led by the Catholics, insisted that the republican ideal included a sanctuary for family rights, upon which the state must not intrude. (This principle eventually led to the Supreme Court's recognition of the right of privacy, in Griswold, 1965.)

    Efforts in the 1920s to pass a Constitutional amendment failed because of Catholic opposition. Eventually the New Deal officially abolished most child labor. In real life, children were inefficient workers and after 1920 were rarely employed outside of farming. Compulsory schooling laws, on the other hand, probably did have a direct impact in providing cognitive skills to youth who otherwise would have lacked them; some fraction of the students forced to enroll in schools became modernized psychologically, thereby becoming alienated from the traditional mindset of their parents. The better educated youth did obtain better jobs and their greater productivity pushed the entire economy upward. As they moved up they adopted middle class values, and became more likely to vote Republican.

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  37. Donald O. Parsons and Claudia Goldin, "Parental Altruism and Self-Interest: Child Labor among Late Nineteenth-Century American Families," Economic Inquiry (1989) 27:637-659, finds mostly "non-altruistic" (selfish) parents; Bill Kauffman, The Child Labor Amendment Debate of the 1920's; Or, Catholics and Mugwumps and Farmers," Journal of Libertarian Studies (1992) 10:139-169; Carolyn M. Moehling, "State Child Labor Laws and the Decline of Child Labor," Explorations in Economic History (1999) 36: 72-106; Lynn Dumenil, "'The Insatiable Maw of Bureaucracy': Antistatism and Educational Reform in the 1920s," Journal of American History (1990) 77:499-524.
    Social mobility studies indicate a third of the children of working class apparently obtained white collar jobs, a reasonable proxy for the impact of the education process. Stephan Thernstrom, The Other Bostonians: Poverty and Progress in the American Metropolis, 1880-1970 (1973); Joel Perlmann and Roger Waldinger, "Second Generation Decline? Children of Immigrants, Past and Present - A Reconsideration," International Migration Review, (1997) 31:893-922. Class effects were visible inside each ethnic group in the earliest polls. Richard Jensen, "The Cities Reelect Roosevelt: Ethnicity, Religion, and Class in 1940," Ethnicity (1981) 8:189-195.

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    J. Urbanization and Reform

    Uprooting ignorance meant more than formal schooling. It meant "surveys"--that is the systematic, nonpartisan examination of a subject by experts. Bureaus of municipal research were created in every major city to study ways to improve municipal management; schools and colleges everywhere were surveyed, as were entire cities, such as Pittsburgh. The census itself became a tool for identifying backward localities that most needed modernization, such as the inner city, the South, Cuba, and the Philippines.

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  38. Maurine W. Greenwald and Margo Anderson, eds. Pittsburgh Surveyed: Social Science and Social Reform in the Early Twentieth Century (1996); Martin Bulmer, Kevin Balesi, and Kathryn Sklar, eds. The Social Survey in Historical Perspective, 1880-1940 (1991), shows the English influence; Schnietz, "Democrats' 1916 Tariff Commission."
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    In the early 1890s private reform organizations emerged in major cities to improve government efficiency and fight bosses, who were attacked as both corruption and inefficient. The progressives were big spenders and were always at risk of a taxpayer revolt, of the sort that defeated the movement in Wisconsin in 1914. Therefore they paid special attention to eliminating waste and mismanagement in local government, for municipal taxes were much higher than rural, statewide or federal taxes, and efficiency meant lower taxes.

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  39. The Wisconsin progressive movement originated in grass roots tax revolts in the 1890s; Thelen, The New Citizenship. It crashed after rising taxes provoked a taxpayer backlash. With the state's progressives locked in internecine warfare, the conservatives won in 1914 by demanding retrenchment. John Buenker, The History of Wisconsin: vol. IV: The Progressive Era, 1893-1914 (1998), 659-61; Brett Flehinger, "`Public Interest': Robert M. La Follette and the Economics of Democratic Progressivism" (PhD, Harvard U. 1997). .
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    In Chicago the spectacular revelations of corruption by William Stead led to the founding of the Civic Federation of Chicago, with strong backing from leading newspapers and bankers. The chief organizer, Ralph Easley moved to the national stage in 1900 with his National Civic Federation. Its main objective--in large part successful--was to bridge the gap between capital and labor. By 1916 it had helped arbitrate or settle 500 labor disputes, and pioneered techniques of industrial arbitration and welfare capitalism. The goal was labor peace through mutually satisfactory agreements that would generate high wages, high profits, and few strikes.

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  40. Martin J. Schiesl, The Politics of Efficiency: Municipal Administration and Reform in America, 1880- 1920 (1977); Melvin G. Holli, "Urban Reform in the Progressive Era," in Lewis Gould, ed. The Progressive Era (1974) 133-52. David Paul Nord, "The Paradox of Municipal Reform in the Nineteenth Century," Wisconsin Magazine of History (1982-83) 66:128-142.
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    The 1890s were a decade of depression, but they also saw a remarkable technical revolution in every large city as electric streetcars replaced the much slower, less efficient horse-drawn or cable-drawn systems. New technology made them natural monopolies. They were controlled by national syndicates which collected a nickel every morning and evening from millions of clerks and office workers. The strap-hangers paid the dividends--that is, the companies made the most money when service was worse. So the strap-hangers disliked the streetcar companies. However the companies needed votes in the city council to obtain and renew their monopolistic franchises. Charles Yerkes, the "Titan" of Chicago, was representative of the energetic entrepreneurs who pioneered the new technology. Led by Detroit, where Hazen Pingree built a career as mayor and governor fighting the traction companies, city after city became alarmed at the bribery and manipulation typified by Yerkes. The electric street railways were easy to unionize, but strikes would be countered by hiring strikebreakers. At first the public sympathized with the unions-- until they had to walk a few miles to work, or until they were threatened by bricks aimed at scab conductors. The use of violence to settle disputes was a sharp violation of republicanism; anyone who promoted or tolerated violence was corrupt. The public always turned sharply against the violent strikers, and perhaps soured on labor unions in general. In a few cities, the unions won big; in most the strikers lost, but the companies' fare gouging also displeased public opinion. The stage was set for the sudden realization that both unions and corporations could be violators of republican norms.

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  41. We lack a national history of streetcar strikes and politics, but there are many good local studies. For example, Melvin G. Holli, Reform in Detroit: Hazen S. Pingree and Urban Politics (1969); Arthur E. Dematteo, "The Downfall of a Progressive: Mayor Tom L. Johnson and the Cleveland Streetcar Strike of 1908," Ohio History (1995) 104:24-41; Sarah M. Henry, "The Strikers and Their Sympathizers: Brooklyn in the Trolley Strike of 1895," Labor History (1991) 32:329- 353; Robert Forrey, "Charles Tyson Yerkes: Philadelphia-Born Robber Baron," Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography (1975) 99:226-241. In New York City the biggest investors were leading Gold Democrats William C. Whitney, Thomas Fortune Ryan and August Belmont--the latter two were officially denounced by name by the 1912 Democratic National Convention. Nelson Aldrich also was a major investor. For a comparative perspective, see Daniel T. Rodgers, Atlantic Crossings: Social Politics in a Progressive Age (1998), ch 4.
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    K. Sin, Corruption and Democracy

    In the Fourth Party System, corruption was a sin; in political discourse it displaced the personal sins of intemperance and secessionism that had bedeviled the Third Party System. Theologically the idea came from the Social Gospelers ("the praying wing of Progressivism") who tried to replace personal with public sin. The point was made explicit in Sin and Society, a popular 1907 book by sociologist E. A. Ross, with a preface by Roosevelt. The new morality committed the progressives to active intervention in social and economic realms. Social control in the name of progress seemed an efficient way to apply the Social Gospel, and justified interventions along many different fronts.

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  42. The Social Gospel was a driving force in most of Protestant America. The Presbyterians said it best in 1910:
    The great ends of the church are the proclamation of the gospel for the salvation of humankind; the shelter, nurture, and spiritual fellowship of the children of God; the maintenance of divine worship; the preservation of truth; the promotion of social righteousness; and the exhibition of the Kingdom of Heaven to the world.
    See Jack B. Rogers, and Robert E. Blade, "The Great Ends of the Church: Two Perspectives," Journal of Presbyterian History (1998) 76:181-186; Gary Scott Smith, "To Reconstruct the World: Walter Rauschenbusch and Social Change," Fides et Historia (1991) 23:40-63; Martin E. Marty, Modern American Religion, Vol. 1: The Irony of It All, 1893-1919 (1986) and Modern American Religion. Vol. 2: The Noise of Conflict, 1919-1941 (1991); Sidney E. Ahlstrom, A Religious History of the American People (1972), 804. Susan Curtis, A Consuming Faith: The Social Gospel and Modern American Culture (1991) points out the strain of efficiency.

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    The progressives expected to encounter ignorance, entrenched traditionalism, and selfish greed; they were always confident they would triumph. Echoing the millennialism that disposed Protestants to cleanse the world in preparation for Christ's Second Coming, Iowa's insurgent Republican Senator Jonathan P. Dolliver identified sin with greed in his analysis of the tariff:

    For the day is coming--it is a good deal closer than many think--when a new sense of justice, new inspirations, new volunteer enthusiasms for good government shall take possession of the hearts of all our people. The time is at hand when the laws will be respected by great and small alike; when fabulous millions, piled hoard upon hoard, by cupidity and greed, and used to finance the ostentations of modern life, shall no longer be a badge even of distinction, but rather of discredit, and it may be of disgrace.... It is the outcome of centuries of Christian civilization....

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  43. Speech June 13, 1910 in 1910 Democratic Textbook (1910), 496

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    The introspection and yearning for self expression characteristic of 19th century romantic idealism gave way to the materialism and community solidarity of 20c pragmatism. Bertrand Russell decided the philosophy of John Dewey and William James-- so materialistic, so confident of progress yet oblivious to unintended consequences, and so much in need of personal reassurances-- perfectly fitted the "obnoxious aspects of American industrialism."

    -----

  44. Robert B. Westbrook, John Dewey and American Democracy (1991), 136, 148; James Livingston, Pragmatism and the Political Economy of Cultural Revolution, 1850-1940 (1994).
    -----

    The progressives indeed focused on materialistic factors, and so the worst kind of corruption was financial. "Tainted Money," was their bogey. Even when if money was decades old, if it had been acquired by dubious means it was still "tainted" and must be refused. Philanthropy represented efficiency and redemption, and could not be stretched to include perpetuating the original injustice. In 1903 the Congregationalists fought over accepting a $100,000 gift by Rockefeller. Carnegie, promoting a Gospel of Wealth that would dedicate industrial fortunes to modernize all of society was not amused. "Money may be the root of all evil in some sense,"he snapped, "but it is also the root of all Universities, Colleges, Churches and libraries scattered through the land."

    -----

  45. Allan Nevins, Study in Power: John D. Rockefeller (1953) 2: 328-55; Carnegie's April 5, 1906 address at Tuskegee, quoted in Louis R. Harlan, Booker T. Washington: The Wizard of Tuskegee, 1901-1915 (1983) 139.
    -----

    McKinley's pluralistic solution to ethnocultural conflict solution worked, and ended the threat of a "Kulturkampf" of the sort that ripped apart other countries. But it came at the cost of weakening democracy inside the Republican party, and opening up charges of bossism. The drys largely abandoned moralizing movements such as the WCTU and the Prohibition party, and turned instead to interest group lobbying, led by the Anti-Saloon League and funded by the pietistic churches. By stressing the inefficiency of boozy workers, the League won significant business support. It downplayed attacks on wet ethnoreligious groups and focused instead on purification of politics by the elimination of corrupt saloon-based machines.

    -----

  46. K. Austin Kerr, Organized for Prohibition: A New History of the Anti-Saloon League (1985).
    -----

    Bossism was a grave crime against republicanism for most progressives, who fought with considerable success in all the parties to expose backstage manipulators, root out organized corruption, destroy machines, weaken party loyalty purify access to the ballot, and eliminate patronage. But there was also an urban wing of the movement, centered around Irish Democratic politicians in the larger cities such as Al Smith of New York, who supported progressive reforms for the material benefit of their working class constituents, but who opposed woman suffrage, civil service and prohibition, and of course supported their machines with enthusiasm.

    -----

  47. The classic remains Benjamin Parke Dewitt, The Progressive Movement (1915); on ethnics see John Buenker, Urban Liberalism and Progressive Reform (1973); James J. Connolly, The Triumph of Ethnic Progressivism: Urban Political Culture in Boston, 1900-1925 (1998).
    -----

    Direct democracy was not necessarily controversial-- the secret ("Australian") ballot swept the nation after 1890; the direct primary to select the party ticket encountered little opposition in its spread from Wisconsin in 1903 to 39 states by 1913. Indeed much major legislation was uncontroversial, and passed Congress almost unanimously, including the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890 and the Income Tax amendment of 1909.

    -----

  48. Charles Merriam in Cyclopedia of American Government (1914) 3:51-55. On the income tax, see also John Buenker, Urban Liberalism and Progressive Reform (1973) 103-17
    -----

    Ignorance and corruption, were the concepts the progressives used to explain opposition to their programs. Ignorance was bad enough. Deliberate support for bad programs in quest of personal rather than social goals was sin so terrible as to be almost unforgivable. The most lurid attack on Congress was a series of magazine exposes, "The Treason of the Senate" by David Graham Phillips, appearing in Cosmopolitan magazine in 1906. The "treason" consisted in voting in favor of parochial state interests, especially higher tariffs for local products. Phillips assumed there was such a thing as "the national interest," and that it was corruption if senators failed to vote for it.

    -----

  49. Louis Filler, Voice of the Democracy: A Critical Biography of David Graham Phillips: Journalist, Novelist, Progressive (1978). However, real-life newspaper correspondents, with a much closer view of congressmen observed little corruption; Donald A. Ritchie, "'The Loyalty of the Senate': Washington Correspondents In The Progressive Era," Historian (1989) 51:574-591. Editors complained to Lincoln Steffans when his columns on Congress failed to uncover corruption; the editors only wanted the sensational, he grumbled; "That was their criterion: dishonesty, stealing, graft." Autobiography (1931) 2:576-581.
    -----

    L. Busting the Evil Trusts

    Were trusts good or bad? Did big business represent efficiency and modernity, or did it threaten to strip power from the citizenry, or both? As Americans pondered, the crisis came in 1905-6, under the influence of spectacular investigations and intense Muckraking coverage--not to mention Democratic partisanship. Explicit exposes of political corruption by giant corporations in numerous industries, especially railroads, oil, and insurance, shifted the burden of proof: indisputably there were bad trusts out there and bigness itself became evidence of perfidy. Hearst, Brandeis (and later Wilson) proclaimed that bigness was inherently bad. Somebody had to stop the evil trusts. That was Bryan's copyright issue, but Roosevelt stepped in and promised to reign in the bad trusts and not hurt the "good" ones. That is, TR had an efficient solution and could be trusted to discriminate as to which trusts were good and fostered national efficiency, and which were bad and threatened republican virtues.

    -----

  50. Richard L. McCormick, "The Discovery that Business Corrupts Politics: A Reappraisal of the Origins of Progressivism," American Historical Review (1981) 86:247- 274. Elizabeth Sanders, Roots of Reform.
    -----

    The left wing progressives argued that monopolies were both inherently sinful, and also inherently inefficient. They made excessive profits by leveraging market power, argued Louis Brandeis. More conservative progressives, including William Howard Taft and his Justice Department, focused primarily on inefficiency, arguing that monopolistic trusts made the rest of the economy inefficient by distorting prices and natural economic flows. Thus Taft took pride in breaking up more trusts than anyone else, including the most famous of them all, Standard Oil. The Supreme Court, in agreeing to break up Standard Oil in 1911, rejected moralistic arguments and imposed a "rule of reason." That is, monopolies that made the economy inefficient were unreasonable and illegal, but not efficient monopolies. Such powerhouses as US Steel and International Harvester therefore survived judicial scrutiny.

    -----

  51. W. Lawrence Neuman, "Negotiated Meanings and State Transformation: The Trust Issue in the Progressive Era," Social Problems (1998) 45:315-35; James C. German, Jr., "The Taft Administration and the Sherman Antitrust Act," Mid-America (1972) 54:172-186.
    - ----

    M. Democratic or Efficient Banking?

    The Panic of 1907 was a major financial crisis that exposed the fragility of a modern economy pivoting on an archaic banking system. In the summer and fall of that year a loss of confidence hit depositors, who began demanding cash for their deposits. The crisis was worldwide; one of the hardest hit centers was New York City, where trust companies proved especially vulnerable. Unlike regular banks, they held very small cash reserves, making them both profitable and unstable in time of panic. J. P. Morgan, in semi-retirement rallied the leading banks to assemble funds to prop up first this trust company, then that, and then the entire New York Stock Exchange and the city of New York itself. The severe shortage of cash was met in large part by new issues of clearing house certificates from the consortium of banks, which were accepted as currency and which eased the crisis. The final critical episode was the rescue of a brokerage whose debt was backed by stock of Tennessee Coal and Iron, the largest steel company in the South. The only solution, Morgan felt, was to sell TCI to US Steel. President Roosevelt personally approved the takeover, even though it strengthened US Steel's hold on the market. The panic was over, but the reverberations lasted for years. LaFollette charged that the bankers had engineered the whole panic to reap a big profit.

    -----

  52. Ron Chernow, The House Of Morgan - An American Banking Dynasty and the Rise of Modern Finance (1990), ch 7; Lester V. Chandler, Benjamin Strong, Central Banker (1958); John A. Garraty, Right-Hand Man: The Life of George W. Perkins (1960) ch 11; Jean Strouse, Morgan, American Financier (2000); William Harbaugh, The Life and Times of Theodore Roosevelt (1963), 296-301; TR Letters 5:830-31; Jon Moen and Ellis W. Tallman, "The Bank Panic of 1907: The Role of Trust Companies," Journal of Economic History (1992) 52:611-630. Elmus Wicker, Banking Panics of the Gilded Age (2000) suggests that Morgan mishandled the crisis, and that it led to a sharp recession.
    In October 1911, Taft's Justice Department charged US Steel with antitrust violations in the TCI deal--leaving TR's integrity under a cloud. That was the last straw for Roosevelt, as he decided to challenge Taft for the Republican nomination for president.

    -----

    The political tension surrounding the Panic of 1907 was deliberately escalated by Roosevelt in a major speech in August entitled, "The Puritan Spirit and the Regulation of Corporations." He blamed the crisis primarily on Europe, but then, after taking inspiration from the unbending rectitude of the Puritans, he lambasted the rich: "It may well be that the determination of the government... to punish certain malefactors of great wealth, has been responsible for something of the trouble; at least to the extent of having caused these men to combine to bring about as much financial stress as possible, in order to discredit the policy of the government and thereby secure a reversal of that policy, so that they may enjoy unmolested the fruits of their own evil-doing."

    -----

  53. Theodore Roosevelt, The Works of Theodore Roosevelt: (1926) 16:84, speech of Aug 20, 1907. Regarding the very wealthy, Roosevelt privately scorned "their entire unfitness to govern the country, and ... the lasting damage they do by much of what they think are the legitimate big business operations of the day." TR Letters Sept 21, 1907, 5:802
    -----

    Roosevelt knew his bear-baiting would ill suit Wall Street, but thought the reaction would merely be "a great flurry and stocks went down several points." The actual reaction to TR's attacks--his conversion to Bryanism one might say--was a new ice age; his stock in Wall Street went down permanently. In 1910 Wall Street helped defeat one of their own, Henry Stimson running for governor, because he was too much TR's protege.

    -----

  54. TR Letters 5:760; on TR's rhetoric, see Leroy G. Dorsey, "Theodore Roosevelt and Corporate America, 1901-1909: A Reexamination," Presidential Studies Quarterly (1995) 25:725-739; Pringle, Theodore Roosevelt, ch 12. In 1912 Wall Street refused to fund TR's primary or Bull Moose campaigns, and rejected Taft as well. That year Wilson seemed much the safest choice for the financial community.
    -----

    N. Roosevelt and Taft Battle for the Soul of the GOP

    Taft seemed endlessly inept. He had none of TR's charisma; when an easy publicity opportunity came up, he ducked it. He had none of TR's energy; where TR concentrated intently on the text of a speech, Taft postponed writing his and when called to the podium had nothing to say. In dealing with Congress, Taft first seemed to favor the insurgents, but in the end angered them by switching to the stand-patter side. A major blowup came when Gifford Pinchot, a close Roosevelt ally and head of the Forest Service, attacked his boss Interior Secretary Ballinger for near- criminal malfeasance in allowing Morgan interests to control coal lands in Alaska. Taft finally fired the disloyal Pinchot, who rushed to TR for help and began organizing conservationists against Taft's reelection.

    Where TR had postponed the tariff issue repeatedly, it came due on Taft's watch. The 1908 Republican promised tariff "reform," which everyone assumed meant a lower tariff. The House bill lowered rates; in the Senate Nelson Aldrich used uncharacteristic brute force to humiliate his enemies. Whereas Aldrich was a New England businessman and a master of the complexities of the tariff, the insurgents were Midwestern rhetoricians who apparently believed the theory, propounded by Democrats and Muckrakers, that the tariff was the mother of trusts, that it was responsible for the high cost of living, and that it was sheer robbery for the benefit of rich monopolists. Aldrich baited them. Did the insurgents want lower tariffs? Aldrich lowered the protection on their farm products. Agrarian America believed that its superior morality deserved financial protection, while the dastardly immorality of the trusts merited financial punishment. The Payne Aldrich Tariff of 1909 perversely had the opposite effects. Taft stumbled by going to Minnesota and, in another carelessly drafted speech, called it the best tariff ever. The tariff actually changed little and had very little economic impact one way or the other, but the insurgents felt tricked and defeated and swore vengeance against Wall Street and its minions Taft and Aldrich. For the first time LaFollette was able to assemble senatorial allies in his battles against the trusts.

    -----

  55. George Norris concluded in 1922, "In the country, in the agricultural communities and in the small villages, we find a stronger and more patriotic citizenship," Richard Lowett, George W. Norris: The Persistence of a Progressive, 1913-1933 (1971) 187; on the other hand, William Allen White insisted that virtue was inherent in the small cities, such as his own Emporia, Kansas. Griffith, Small Town News, 151-55.
    -----

    In 1911 Taft tried to win popularity with consumers (and publishers) by negotiating a reciprocity agreement with Canada allowing free entry of cheap Canadian wheat, fish and newspaper pulp in exchange for new markets for (eastern) factories. Canada had long sought reciprocity, but American politicians avoided it as too explosive. Regional hatreds flared again as Midwestern farming interests, along with upstate New York producers, rallied against the treaty. Fighting Republicans right and left Taft called a special session of Congress, cut a deal with the Democrats, twisted arms, and won Congressional approval for reciprocity. It was a less than brilliant victory, for Taft never won plaudits for his achievements, but instead took another barrage from Midwestern insurgents who wanted lower tariffs for the Northeast, not for their region. Barnstorming the States for reciprocity, Taft correctly but incautiously pointed to the inevitable integration of the North American economy, hinting that Canada would soon come to a "parting of the ways" with London. Canada's Conservative Party now had an issue to regain power; after a surge of pro-imperial anti-Americanism, the Conservatives won and Ottawa rejected reciprocity. Taft gained a sack of failures, a retinue of new enemies, and no rewards for his remaining political friends.

    -----

  56. Paolo E. Coletta, The Presidency of William Howard Taft (1973) 133, 138-52. After 1911 American business responded by investing in Canada and building branch plants. The goal was never annexation, but rather more leverage in world markets. Ronald Radosh, "American Manufacturers, Canadian Reciprocity, and The Origins of the Branch Factory System". CAAS Bulletin (1967) 3(1): 19-54.
    -----

    Under heavy attack from inside and outside his party, Taft shook off his lethargy and counterattacked. He began well before TR, LaFollette or anyone else, in summer 1910, to control the 1912 convention. LaFollette began organizing the insurgents in early 1911, but just as he gained momentum he went into seclusion to write his autobiography. The baffled insurgents shifted their hopes to Roosevelt. The Rough Rider, however, was uncharacteristically paralyzed; he dithered, stalled and hesitated. By the fall of 1911 Taft had locked up alliances with party leaders in most major states, including Roosevelt's own New York. In February 1912, LaFollette's emotional hysteria during a major speech raised the unsurmountable charge that this crusader was mentally unstable. Roosevelt now announced his candidacy, sweeping up most of LaFollette's backers; the Wisconsinite turned away from Taft to refocus his crusade as an all-out attack on Roosevelt's betrayal. Meanwhile Taft's men rolled up state after state; Roosevelt supporters used a desperate strategy, setting out hundreds of artificial challenges (and a few genuine ones) to delegitemize Taft's delegates and fire their moral outrage.

    In thirteen states the progressive forces had succeeded in setting up primaries, expecting the voice of the people would be calling them. In these primaries TR won 50 percent of the popular vote against the divided (Taft-LaFollete) opposition, but he gained 77 percent of the contested delegates. Democracy was working for TR, but it fell short. The Taft forces, using much the same patronage techniques Roosevelt himself had used in 1904 and 1908, were rolling up more delegates. Taft's people purchased southern delegates wholesale, while TR, promoting lilly-white tickets, made little headway in the rotten boroughs of Dixie. Our efficiency, said the Taftites; Your Corruption! roared TR.

    TR's war against Taft for control of the GOP was largely personal, but the popular response focused on Roosevelt's crusade in the name of popular sovereignty against the corruption of politics by the bosses, by corporate interests, and by judges unresponsive to the will of the people. While the Democrats had been sounding such themes since Jackson's day; it was new for the Republicans. In 1901 Albert Cummins had sought the governorship of Iowa in order "to bring the individual voter into more prominence, and to diminish the influence of permanent organization in the ranks of the party."

    -----

  57. Iowa State Register, Feb. 15, 1901.
    -----

    The more radical progressives, led by LaFollette, Pinchot, Hiram Johnson and Roosevelt, echoed Jefferson (and Bryan and John Dewey) with their faith in direct democracy. The people would always make the best decision, if only the rules of the game allowed them to do so. Not true, sputtered angry railroad leaders who had been attacked for a half century by demagogues, and threatened by politicians extorting bribes, paybacks or merely free passes.

    -----

  58. Cochran, , Railroad Leaders.
    -----

    Explained one business magazine: "We have faith in popular opinion, when it is expressed through the forms of the constitution; when it is instructed, sober, moral and true. But we have no faith in popular opinion when it is rash, passionate, unjust, prejudiced and ignorant."

    -----

  59. Commercial West, May 1908 cited in Robert Wiebe, Businessmen and Reform: A Study of the Progressive Movement (1962), 181.
    -----

    TR slashed back, blaming the businessmen for the ills of society:

    I have scant patience with this talk of the tyranny of the majority.... We are today suffering from the tyranny of minorities. It is a small minority that is grabbing our coal- deposits, our water-powers, and our harbor fronts. A small minority is battening on the sale of adulterated foods and drugs. It is a small minority that lies behind monopolies and trusts....the sweat-shops, and the whole calendar of social and industrial injustice.

    -----

  60. March 20, 1912. TR Works 17:150
    -----

    The Taft conservatives were not, however, defending corporate interests. In 1908 financiers were chilly to William Howard Taft, who indeed had an anti-business streak and a strong taste for anti-trust. "Wall Street, as an aggregation," Taft told his brother, "is the biggest ass I have ever run across." Roosevelt had advised Taft that antibusiness rhetoric "helps you in the West. It hurts you among all the reactionary crowd, both the honest reactionaries and the corrupt financiers and politicians in the East." In 1912 the contribution to the Taft campaign raised barely a third of the funds it had in 1908. Taft and his allies instead saw themselves defending a cornerstone of republicanism, the rule of law, as interpreted by the judiciary. The fundamental issue was who would have final interpretation of the laws and the Constitution.

    -----

  61. Henry F. Pringle, The Life and Times of William Howard Taft (1939) 2:655 for quote, 829-32; TR Letters 5: 781.
    -----

    O. Democracy versus Rule of Law

    Attacks on the Supreme Court had antecedents back to Jefferson, and to the Republican party assault on the Dred Scott decision. The strengthened role for the federal judiciary had been a powerful achievement of the Civil War. In 1896 the Bryan Democrats vehemently attacked the Supreme Court for striking down the income tax and breaking the Pullman strike two years before. The devastating counterattack to Bryan's legal views was that he condoned anarchism (a reference to Governor John Altgeld's pardoning of the Haymarket anarchists). After 1900 federal courts frequently issued injunctions against labor unions, and on several occasions struck down protective labor laws. The climax came in 1905, when in Lochner vs. New York (198 U.S. 45) the Supreme Court declared unconstitutional a maximum-hours law for bakers, announcing that the 14th Amendment guarantee of liberty of contracts trumped the police powers of the state to eliminate work practices that were both inefficient and deleterious to workers' health.

    -----

  62. Alexander M. Bickel and Benno C. Schmidt, Jr., The Judiciary and Responsible Government, 1910- 21 (1984), ch. 3
    -----

    Stimulated by the dissent by Oliver Wendell Holmes, the radical progressives denounced the decision as a surrender to property interests--that is, the Supreme Court itself was corrupt.

    -----

  63. Historian Charles Beard stunned academe by arguing in 1913 that the Founding Fathers had acted in tune with their economic self interest when ratifying the original Constitution. President Taft, like many readers decided Beard was denying the legitimacy of the Constitution itself, which Beard denied. Pringle, Taft 2:860.
    -----

    Roosevelt--who never trusted lawyers, judges or "the law"-- took up the banner. He went after the state courts as undemocratic and unrepublican. "The courts [are] the ultimate irresponsible interpreters of the Constitution, and therefore... represent a system as emphatically undemocratic as government by a hereditary aristocracy." He announced in late 1907 that federal court injunctions were sometimes "used heedlessly and unjustly."

    -----

  64. TR Works 12:234; Pringle, Theodore Roosevelt: A Biography (1931), 478; When the Court of Appeals reversed a huge fine against Standard Oil in 1908, TR told his attorney general that the chief judge was "a scoundrel" and the other two were guilty of "improper subserviency to corporations." Letters 6:1142
    -- ---

    In terms of legislation the great political battle over the role of the courts came in 1906 as Roosevelt attempted to put independent experts in control of railroad rates, rather than profit-seeking railroad executives. The Hepburn bill passed the House overwhelmingly, but stalled in the Senate where most Republicans demanded explicit provisions for court review of rate decisions handed down by the Interstate Commerce Commission. The issue was not whether or not railroad rates should be regulated; everyone agreed on that. The issue was whether the decision regarding what rates were "fair" should be made by economists in the ICC or judges on the federal bench. Aldrich led the support for the letting the judiciary have the final say about fairness. He artfully put control of the bill in the hands of "Pitchfork Ben" Tillman, a vulgar demagogue from South Carolina who was the senior Democrat on the committee. Tillman was unable to secure enough Democratic votes, so Roosevelt was forced to accept the Aldrich version that gave control over rates to bureaucratic experts but allowed for appeals to the courts. The final synthetic bill passed with only three dissenting votes.

    -----

  65. John Morton Blum, The Republican Roosevelt (1954) 87-105. Business interests were split on the proposal, with most shippers favoring lower rates and hence a stronger ICC, and railroads demanding legal protections. Richard K. Vietor, "Businessmen and the Political Economy: The Railroad Rate Controversy of 1905," Journal of American History (1977) 64:47-66. In the Midwest, cattlemen strongly resented high freight rates, and organized to support more regulation. Keach Johnson, "The Corn Belt Meat Producers' Association of Iowa: Origins of a Progressive Pressure Group," Annals of Iowa (1976) 43:242-260.
    Many reformers, especially LaFollette and Wilson, believed there was one "true" price and one "fair profit" that could be discovered by experts, especially after a cost-accounting of the how much it cost to build and operate a railroad. This was an echo of the old "just price" doctrine, and was wholly out of step with the new theory then being developed by economist Irving Fisher, that the profit of a business enterprise depends not on the sunk costs of the past, but on the future flow of profits. Businessmen intuitively saw that if regulators systematically depressed profits, the value of a property would plunge.

    -----

    To make the judiciary more responsive to democratic forces, Roosevelt called for state constitutional amendments that would create referenda whereby citizens could overrule state judges. If a helpless widow was disappointed by a ruling, her friends could organize a statewide vote to overturn it. It did not occur to Roosevelt that corporations would have the same privilege; he assumed that whenever a vote took place the people would find the one correct decision, without regard to advertising blitzes by one side or the other. It did not occur to him that the referendum campaign would probably feature catch-phrases and slogans more than legal briefs or reprints of law review articles. Roosevelt, like most left progressives, paid little attention to "constitutional rights" claimed by individuals, lest they be claimed by corporations to have reforms declared unconstitutional. Roosevelt's challenge to judicial finality dismayed his closest supporters, who saw the judges as professional experts in fairness, and the rule of law as a core republican value. They rejected Roosevelt's plan to bring in academically-trained scientific experts as the final arbiters of the economy, society and polity and insisted on the superiority of judge-made law to legislative enactments. TR had attended law school (while busy writing his first book) but never fell in love with the law. His closest political advisors, including Henry Cabot Lodge, Elihu Root, Henry Stimson and his own son-in-law Congressman Nicholas Longworth all tried to reason with TR to no avail; they were more in love with the law than with TR, and reluctantly they each announced for Taft.

    -----

  66. On the efforts by jurists to reassert final authority above administrative agencies and politicians, see Michael Les Benedict, "Law and Regulation in the Gilded Age and Progressive Era" 1998 SHGAPE Presidential Address, online ; Daniel R. Ernst, "Law and American Political Development, 1877- 1938," Reviews in American History (1998) 26:205-219. In law and politics, the progressives replaced "rights," especially "property rights," with "duty" to the community. Morton J. Horowitz, The Transformation of American Law, 1870-1960 (1992), 155-56.
    -----

    Root, a leading corporate lawyer, apostle of efficiency and modernization, and TR's Secretary of War and State, best made the conservative progressive case for the claim that only the judicary could transcend frivolous democracy to truly express republican values:

    Judicial decisions are something quite distinct and different from the expression of political opinions or the advocacy of economic or social theories. Profoundly devoted to the reign of law, with its prescribed universal rules as distinguished from the reign of men with their changing opinions, desires and impulses, our people have always ascribed a certain sanctity to the judicial office, have invested its holders with special dignity, and have regarded them in the exercise of their office with a respect amounting to almost reverence, as above all conflicts of party, and of faction, because these officers are the guardians of the law as it is.

    -----

  67. "Judicial Decisions and Public Feeling" in Elihu Root, Addresses on Government and Citizenship (1917), 446
    -----

    Root presided over the GOP national convention; regardless of his Nobel Peace Prize, he was a fighter and ruled in favor of Taft at every point. By his official count, Taft held a slim but solid majority. Roosevelt cried theft, walked out, and formed a new "Bull Moose" Progressive Party. Very few office holders followed TR. The exception was California, where Hiram Johnson's Progressives controlled the GOP and kept Taft entirely off the ballot in November. The Bull Moosers were political outsiders, utopians, and former insiders who had fallen on hard times. The party was bankrolled by a rich, eccentric magazine publisher named Frank Munsey, and by its national chairman George Perkins. A former executive with life insurance companies, Morgan's bank and U.S. Steel, Perkins embodied the sinful Wall Street financier that attracted so much hatred on the progressive left. Perkins, however, was a genuine reformer, and a brilliant organizer totally dedicated to efficiency; he also made sure that the antitrust plank desired by the rank-and-file was left out of the Bull Moose platform. Roosevelt followed Perkins, and barnstormed the country on behalf of his "New Nationalism." He promised government acceptance and close oversight of giant corporations, plus a heavy dose of social welfare programs targeted on raising the efficiency of working men and women, and ending child labor.

    When the Democrats nominated New Jersey governor Woodrow Wilson, the Bull Moosers realized they could never achieve a cross-party alliance. Although Wilson was conservative on economic matters, and did not attack trusts, bankers or railroads, he exemplified expertise in higher education. His successful crusades against corrupt political bosses in New Jersey validated his democratic credentials. Conservative businessmen and lawyers, alarmed at Roosevelt, realized that support for Wilson would be a safer bet than throwing away money on Taft's hopeless campaign. Taft hardly campaigned. It hardly mattered, for he had already achieved his goal: the GOP was purged of its radicals and never again would they regain power. The Progressives were a one-man show; by dividing the GOP they guaranteed the electoral vote for the Democrats, as well as control of Congress, and relinquished their own claims on the GOP.

    -----

  68. The best history remains George Mowry, Theodore Roosevelt and the Progressive Movement (1946); also See Mowry, The Era of Theodore Roosevelt and the Birth of Modern America, 1900-1912 (1958); Norman M. Wilensky, Conservatives in the Progressive Era: The Taft Republicans of 1912 (1965).
    Most Bull Moosers followed TR back into the GOP in 1916; a minority went over to Wilson, especially in the Mountain states. The GOP in 1916 plucked Charles Evans Hughes off the Supreme Court (where he had avoided any involvement in the schism of 1912). In 1920 the Republicans selected Taft's chief supporter in Ohio, Warren Harding. The elections of 1910-1912 were not critical; no realignment took place between 1896 and 1932. Just why not is worth pondering--the argument here is that the core issues of the Fourth Party System were still sorting themselves out. Realignment would be possible only after the core issues were resolved.

    -----

    Taft, Root, and Aldrich represented the right wing of the progressive movement. They were not given to personal invective; they believed in original sin shared by everyone, rather than the new-fangled label of social sinner that could so easily be slapped on a political opponent. The threat of corruption of republicanism in their view came instead from demagoguery, mob action, defiance of Constitutionalism, and from judicial review. They sought to purify the Republican party and the judicial system, and they succeeded.

    -----

  69. On the conservative mentality, see Wilensky, Conservatives in the Progressive Era; Philip Jessup, Elihu Root (1938); Mowry, Era of Theodore Roosevelt; Blum, Republican Roosevelt.
    -----

    During Taft's presidency he quietly seized control of the Supreme Court, with five conservative appointments. His own 1921 appointment as Chief Justice guaranteed the conservative control of the third branch of government, leaving the insurgents in the cold for another two decades.

    -----

  70. Bickel and Schmidt, The Judiciary and Responsible Government, 1910-21, ch 1.
    -----

    P. Banking and Power

    The most most lasting and important legislation of the Progressive Era was the creation of a powerful, efficient central bank, the Federal Reserve System. To the present day it overshadows the rest of Washington in the shaping of macroeconomics. After the gold triumphs in 1896 and 1900, the money issue had faded from the political agenda. Ida Tarbell and the handful of journalists drawn to economics focused on industrial trusts, or better the plight of child labor. Despite rhetorical attacks on the "Money Trust," and frequent negative references to Wall Street, most reformers--even Bryan--steered away from the topic, and never proposed specific reforms. Only Louis Brandeis knew much about banking, and he was fixated on his scheme for local savings banks. A congressional investigation, the Pujo Committee in 1912, concentrated on illegitimate power rather than economic efficiency. It revealed that Morgan controlled Wall Street, and that five New York banks controlled 341 seats on the boards of 112 major corporations. The threat was uncontrolled power beyond the reach of government, a clear violation of republicanism.

    Morgan had single-handedly stopped the Panic of 1907. He did it not with "power" or his own control of money, but with the prestige that enabled him to bring all the powerful players together in one room, and keep them until they found solutions to the emergency. Only bankers seemed to appreciate the real problem: the United States was the last major country without a central bank that could provide stability and emergency credit in times of financial crisis, not to mention support for expanded foreign trade in good times. The threat perceived by the financial community was not so much excessive power around Morgan, but the frailty of a vast, decentralized banking system that could not regulate itself without the extraordinary interventions of one old man. There was much talk about the need for an elastic money supply that could expand or contract as needed; more accurately the need was for liquidity. That is, for a central bank that would loan money to banks on the basis of assets that would be hard to sell in a crisis. After the scare of 1907 the bankers demanded reform; the next year Congress established a commission of experts to come up with a nonpartisan solution. Nelson Aldrich, the Republican leader in the Senate, ran the Commission personally, with the aid of a team of brilliant economists. They toured Europe and were astonished at how successful central banks in London and Berlin were in stabilizing their economies and promoting international trade. Despite the vast size of the American economy, the dollar was an also-ran currency in world trade compared to the pound or even the mark. Aldrich's impartial investigation in the best tradition of progressive fact-finding led to his plan in 1912 to bring central banking to America, with promises of financial stability, expanded international roles, control by impartial experts and no political meddling in finance.

    Aldrich realized correctly that central bank had to be decentralized somehow, or it would be ganged up upon by local politicians and bankers as had the First and Second Banks of the United States. His solution was a regional system. In Congress, Rep. Carter Glass of Virginia picked up Aldrich's core ideas; to be able to claim Democratic authorship, he made numerous small revisions such as headquartering an region in the financial backwater of Richmond, Virginia. Glass had once been a fervent silverite; he now accepted the ideas proposed by the experts. Wilson's main contribution was to insist that the new regional banks be controlled by a central board appointed by the president. Bryan, by now Secretary of State, had not forgotten the menace of Wall Street and threatened to destroy the bill. Wilson masterfully bargained, negotiated and cajoled, coming up with a compromise plan that pleased bankers and Bryan alike. The agrarian element was basically bought off by making Federal Reserve currency liabilities of the government rather than of private banks--a symbolic change--and by including provisions for federal loans to farmers. The agrarian demand to prohibit interlocking directorates did not pass. Something for everybody was the final result--the bankers got their central bank, their opponents got to boast they had stripped the titans of Wall Street of their monopolistic powers and returned to the people control of their economy and their polity.

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  71. Robert Craig West, Banking Reform and the Federal Reserve, 1863-1923 (1977); Link, The New Freedom; James Livingston, Origins of the Federal Reserve System: Money, Class, and Corporate Capitalism, 1890-1913 (1986).
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    An excited Glass took personal credit for the new system, proclaiming it would "make financial panics almost impossible"; and as well "break the shackles Wall Street has put upon the nation's commerce"; and indeed would "give the Federal Government the power of control over the credit machine, for the benefit of all the people." The question for the historian is how accurate were his predictions?

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  72. Literary Digest Jan 3, 1914 p 2.
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    Wilson stunned the Bryanites by appointing conservative bankers who would never dream of issuing fiat money like the old Greenbacks. Power in the Federal Reserve soon gravitated to the Wall Street branch; not until 1935 did New Dealers rewrite the law to concentrate the system's powers at the Washington headquarters.
    Historians have correctly praised Wilson for his brilliant political maneuverings in pushing the Federal Reserve through the Democratic Congress. Less often have they asked how well it performed according to the criteria of efficiency and democracy. The Fed was indeed led by highly efficient nonpartisan experts--the question is whether its solutions were the best possible ones for the economy, or the worst ones, and how they reflected democracy. When the Fed sharply cut the money supply in 1920 sending the whole economy into a severe depression, America was shocked to discover that nonpartisan experts do not necessarily make the best decisions. Indeed, once given so much power the central bankers proved they could throttle the economy, as happened again in 1929-31. In that instance, the Fed escaped blame for the Great Depression on the part of the public--who searched for evil men to blame; they have not escaped the obloquy of economic historians. The Crash of 1929 demonstrated that even if selfishness or partisanship could be overcome, the power of expertise would not be sufficient. The progressives seemed unaware of the "law of unintended consequences." The appeared confident that all problems must have solutions, the solutions could be found, and the one best solution would not have terrible unforseen consequences.

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  73. As for the farmers, they indeed obtained vast new financing. They used federal loans on an unprecedented scale in 1917-1919 to buy up new land--that is, to buy out their neighbors, with mortgages to cover the very high cost. They suffered a colossal crash in land values in 1920, impoverishing the most ambitious agrarians for another decade and a half. Unable to accept the notion that the inherently "pure" agrarians made a terrible miscalculation, farm spokesmen blamed the Fed. For many decades--indeed to the present day--they demanded federal intervention to restore the golden age of prosperity, defined by them as 1910-1914 pre-Fed conditions. James H. Shideler, Farm Crisis, 1919-1923 (1957); Richard Lowitt, Norris 2:181.
    Milton Friedman and Anna Jacobson Schwartz, A Monetary History of the United States, 1867-1960 (1963); Elmus R. Wicker, "A Reconsideration of Federal Reserve Policy during the 1920-1921 Depression," Journal of Economic History (1966) 26: 223-238; Frank G. Steindl, Monetary Interpretations of the Great Depression. (1995).

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    The progressives thought that presidential appointment guaranteed popular political control of the Fed, and therefore freedom from Wall Street, and from greedy souls not atuned with the national interest. They were proven wrong time and again. Down until the 1930s the New York City banks exercised effective control of the main Fed activities.

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  74. Arthur Link, Woodrow Wilson and the Progressive Era, 1910-1917 (1954) 43-53, 76-78, 258-59; John Broesamle, "The Struggle for the Control of the Federal Reserve System 1914-17," MidAmerica (1970) 52:280-97; Vincent P. Carosso, "The Wall Street Trust from Pujo through Medina," Business History Review (1973) 47:421-37; West, Banking Reform; Gabriel Kolko, Triumph of Conservatism: A Reinterpretation of American history, 1900-1916 (1963) 230- 54.
    The Fed has often been hailed as the epitome of efficiency and expertise--but of course, never of political democracy. Rather its supporters emphasize that its policies are controlled by The Market. In practice the Fed recoils at even the appearance of following White House suggestions about the appropriate level of interest rates. See William Greider, Secrets of the Temple: How the Federal Reserve Runs the Country (1989), on the 1980s, and Bob Woodward, Maestro: Greenspan's Fed and the American Boom (2000) on the 1990s. Tony Caporale and Kevin B. Grier, "A Political Model of Monetary Policy with Application to the Real Fed Funds Rate," Journal of Law & Economics (1998) 41: 409-428, found small political effects on Fed policy.

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    The Great War had already started when the Federal Reserve opened in late 1914, and both its New York branch and system headquarters in Washington had to confront the question of financial support to Britain and France in terms of the national policy of neutrality. The New York branch, controlled by Governor Benjamin Strong, vigorously supported the Allied cause and facilitated vast loans, organized by the Morgan banks. It ignored neutrality, bending every regulation it could to benefit London and Paris. The reason for this action--and indeed, for the private bank loans in the first place--could not have been profit. By 1917 the Allies had exhausted their credits and additional loans carried a much higher risk than bankers would ever make without collateral. The reason for the loans must have been political--earnest money on behalf of the British cause. The top officials of the Reserve in Washington, however, decided the funding was unsound and fought New York every step of the way. Some, like Governor Harding were fearful of massive losses if the loans continued. His top aide was apparently sympathetic to Germany. Paul Warburg had immigrated from Germany in 1902 and became a naturalized American citizen only in 1911. His brothers remained behind and became leading financiers of the German war effort in Hamburg. Democracy did not play a role--the battles were fought out in secrecy, and only late in 1916 did Harding seek the President's advice on just what the official policy of "neutrality" meant. Wilson saw the federal Reserve as a private agency that he did not control; he did recommend that it support his foreign policy, which just then was designed to pressure the Allies to come to peace terms. The result was to reverse New York's latest moves and leave the Allies financially in dire straits. The British--and the bankers--were rescued only because Berlin had at the same moment rejected the latest peace overtures, decided to engage in unrestricted submarine warfare, and made overtures to Mexico for an armed alliance against the United States.

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  75. On the war years, Priscilla Roberts, "'Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes?' The Federal Reserve System's Founding Fathers and Allied Finances in the First World War," Business History Review (1998) 72: 585-603, and Paul A. C. Koistinen, Mobilizing for Modern War: The Political Economy of American Warfare, 1865-1919 (1997)
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    Q. 1920s: Accepting Big Business

    Wilson and the Democrats actually believed that high tariffs begat monopolies; they sharply lowered the tariff in 1913, confident that no more ugly devils would be born. They then replaced the guillotine of the Sherman Act with a scalpel that could be used by expert surgeons. The result in 1914 was the creation of the Federal Trade Commission and passage of the Clayton antitrust act. The antitrust movement had climaxed; its moralistic and democratic mission had been achieved, leaving only efficiency. During the world war, southern agrarians attempted to link their standard antimonopoly rhetoric to the new theme of "corruption" among munitions makers who sought American preparedness for war, or even intervention, to obtain new sources of profit. "If our own citizens will mind their home affairs," said antiwar Congressman George Huddleston of Alabama, "and American financiers will confine their rapacity as heretofore to exploiting their own...resources, there need be little fear of war." For a decade, business had been on the defensive--now in the war years it managed to seize its leadership of efficiency and modernization once more, and redeem its claim to an honored place in the republican order.

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  76. Speech in Congress, January 10, 1917, quoted in Anthony Gaughan, "Woodrow Wilson and the Rise of Militant Interventionism in the South," Journal of Southern History (1999) 65:771-808, at 781.
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    The agrarians made little progress because the mood was changing. The seething hatred so many Americans felt toward Rockefeller became less important than the national celebration of Henry Ford. He was as much a monopolist as Rockefeller, but he built 15 million cheap Model T's that put America on wheels, and at the same time lowered prices, raised wages, and promoted efficiency. Ford became the greatest hero of the day because he empowered the consumer. Americans (who never developed brand loyalties for gasoline) loved their Tin Lizzies. The government never tried to break up Ford's company; talk of trust busting faded away as America accepted bigness. Wilson promised the FTC would become an ally of legitimate business, and his Republican successors restructured it to promote efficiency through cooperation, with scant attention to trustbusting of giant concerns. The FTC did promote purification, however, by eliminating shady practices of marginal and fly-by-night businesses which threatened established forms more than anyone else. The pleasant discovery that some government prohibitions would help big business guaranteed its support for the securities regulations of the 1930s.

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  77. Lewis, The Public Image of Henry Ford; James Warren Prothro, The Dollar Decade: Business Ideas in the 1920's (1954); G. Cullom Davis, "The Transformation of the Federal Trade Commission, 1914-1929," Mississippi Valley Historical Review (1962) 49:437-455.
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    R. Republicanism at War

    Ethnocultural issues were muted after 1896, as the Republicans adhered to McKinley's vision of prosperity and pluralism for all groups in society, with no use of the government by one group to attack another. Pluralism collapsed, temporarily, during the war, as debates on national security policy turned into debates about whether or not certain groups of "hyphenated" ethnic were truly devoted to American republicanism. The German-American and Irish-American communities, hostile to Britain, came out strongly in favor of neutrality, condemning the fact of massive sales and loans to the Allies as a violation of that policy. An ironclad component of republicanism since the days of Washington and Jefferson had been "no entangling alliances." While many prominent Americans supported Britain, or condemned Germany for its militarism and atrocities in Belgium, On the other side, British-Americans operated more as individuals than as a collectivity in supporting Britain. Assimilation of the Protestant British had been virtually complete, and they scarcely were organized.

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  78. The best history of the ethnic dimension of public opinion remains Cedric C. Cummins, Indiana Public Opinion and the World War, 1914-1917 (1945); see also Ernest R. May, The World War and American Isolation, 1914- 1917 (1959); Christopher C. Gibbs, The Great Silent Majority: Missouri's Resistance to World War I (1988), which exaggerates opposition to the war. On the British, see Rowland T. Berthoff, British Immigrants in Industrial America (1953); Forrest McDonald, Insull (1962).
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    Roosevelt identified German militarism as the supreme threat to American republicanism, and he loudly raised the issue whether the German-Americans and Irish-Americans were loyal to their mother country or to America: "Those hyphenated Americans who terrorize American politicians by threats of the foreign vote are engaged in treason to the American Republic."

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  79. TR, Works 18:394, from an Oct 12, 1912 address to the Knights of Columbus, the largest Catholic fraternal society.
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    Once war was declared, Germania was expelled from the republican consensus. The Democratic party--long its chief protector --became its aggressuve enemy. Anti-Germania escalated from the search for spies and saboteurs to a more systematic effort to guarantee that the large German-American communities were fully committed to American republicanism. An informal policy of destroying all forms of Germanic civic culture grew irresistibly throughout most of the country, even in heavily German small cities in the Upper Midwest. Foreign language newspapers were suspect, and many shut down. Many public schools ended courses dealing with the German language. German-American behavior was scrutinized, especially their purchases of war bonds. The drys stressed the association of Germania with beer and saloons--that is, with sin, corruption and inefficiency. To some extent, Scandinavian and Dutch-Americans were also affected by the wartime purification efforts.

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  80. Nancy Derr, "Lowden: A Study of Intolerance in an Iowa Community during the Era of the First World War, " Annals of Iowa (1989) 50:5-22. See also Leslie V. Tischauser, The Burden of Ethnicity: The German Question in Chicago, 1914-1941. (1990); Melvin G. Holli, "Teuton vs Slav: The Great War Sinks Chicago's German Kultur," Ethnicity (1981) 8:406-451; David W. Detjen, The Germans in Missouri, 1900-1918: Prohibition, Neutrality, and Assimilation (1985).
    The treatment was more brutal for Germans in Britain, Canada and Australia; Mark Ellis and Panayi Panikos, "German Minorities In World War I: A Comparative Study of Britain and the USA," Ethnic and Racial Studies (1994) 17:238-259; Gerhardt Fischer, Enemy Aliens: Internment and the Home Front Experience in Australia (1989). Canada interred 8,600 German and Ukrainian men as enemy aliens; the rest were stripped of the right to vote. Desmond Morton, "Sir William Otter and Internment Operations in Canada during the First World War," Canadian Historical Review (1974) 55:32-58. The Scandinavian-Americans came under heavy pressure as well; F. Herbert Capps, "The Swedish-American Press and Isolationism," in Swedish Immigrant Community in Transition: Essays in Honor of Dr. Conrad Bergendoff (1963), pp. 167-181.

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    Even if the anti-German attacks ended immediately with the Armistice in 1918, the after-shocks generated enormous swings in Germanic voting behavior, including spikes of support for Socialists in 1918, Harding in 1920, LaFollette in 1924, Roosevelt in 1932 and 1936, and Willkie in 1940. The Germans nursed a sense of betrayal: they believed they had been true republicans all along, but had been misunderstood. Nevertheless, they and most ethnics did abandon foreign language usage. Churches switched to English; the once-large foreign language press withered away. The American consensus was that republicanism was monolingual--a consensus that was briefly challenged by a bilingualism movement in the 1980s.

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  81. Allan J. Lichtman, Prejudice and the Old Politics: The Presidential Election of 1928 (1979); Kevin P. Phillips, The Emerging Republican Majority (1969); David L. Brye, Wisconsin Voting Patterns in the Twentieth Century, 1900-1950 (1979); David Burner, The Politics of Provincialism: The Democratic Party in Transition, 1918-1932 (1967), 223-40. Burton W. Folsom, Jr., No More Free Markets or Free Beer: The Progressive Era in Nebraska, 1900-1924 (1999), ch. 6.In 1928 the Germans mostly split along religious lines, but some Protestants were so wet they voted for Smith- the-wet. Douglas C. Strange, "Al Smith and the Republican Party at Prayer: The Lutheran Vote, 1928," Review of Politics (1970) 32:347-364.
    Michele Arington, "English-Only Laws and Direct Legislation: The Battle in the States over Language Minority Rights," Journal of Law & Politics (1991) 7:325- 352.

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    At the international level Wilson sought to purge militarism and make the world safe for democracy using military power and negotiating skills. His administration rallied support on the homefront with a sort of unrestricted emotional warfare against unrepublican behavior. The main targets were "slackers" who refused to abide the core republican principle of the citizens' duty to fight for the nation. The war highlighted the core republican role of the citizen soldier. Apart from the left-wing socialists who rejected republicanism in the first place, opposition to conscription was minor. The new sedition law encouraged the Administration to closely scrutinize Wilson's political opponents for any sign of anti-republican sentiments ("sedition".) Senator Tom Watson of Georgia was targeted, as was former president Roosevelt. Eugene Debs, as an anti-draft Socialist, went to prison. In 1919, Attorney General Palmer authorized raids on "Reds" that shut down anti-republican organizations and expelled thousands of alien leaders. Most of them, including Emma Goldman, were sent back to Russia.

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  82. John Whiteclay, Chambers II, To Raise an Army: The Draft Comes to Modern America (1987); David M. Kennedy, Over Here: The First World War and American Society (1980), ch. 1; Stephen L. Vaughn, Holding Fast the Inner Lines: Democracy, Nationalism, and the Committee on Public Information (1980); Carl H. Chrislock, Watchdog of Loyalty: The Minnesota Commission of Public Safety during World War I (1991). Still invaluable is H. C. Peterson and Gilbert C. Fite, Opponents of War, 1917-1918 (1957); Richard Gid Powers, Not Without Honor: The History of American Anti- Communism (1995); Shirley J. Burton, "The Espionage and Sedition Acts of 1917 and 1918: Sectional Interpretations in the United States District Courts of Illinois," Illinois Historical Journal (1994) 87:41-50; David L. Sterling, "In Defense of Debs: The Lawyers and the Espionage Case," Indiana Magazine of History (1987) 83:17-42.
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    Starting before the war the I.W.W. had argued that it was protected by the free speech clause of the First Amendment. The Wobblies believed that "force is law" and were contemptuous of rights, republicanism, elections, the Constitution, and all that; only the working class deserved free speech. But they saw the value of a wedge issue that would divide their oppressors, and so they developed an ideology of free speech. Its point was that censorship by government was itself a heinous violation of republicanism. This posture did not save the IWW from being shut down during the war, with its leaders jailed or exiled, in actions upheld by the Supreme Court.

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  83. David M. Rabban, Free Speech in the Forgotten Years (1997) ch 2; Gitlow v. New York, 268 U.S. 652 (1925); John H. Wigmore, "Abrams v. United States: Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Thuggery in War-Time and Peace-Time," Illinois Law Review (1920) 14:539-54; G. Edward White, "The First Amendment Comes of Age: The Emergence of Free Speech in Twentieth-Century America," Michigan Law Review, (1996) 95:299-392; Francis Shor, "The IWW and Oppositional Politics in World War I: Pushing the System Beyond its Limits,"Radical History Review (1996) 64:74-94; the strongest statement of the Wobblie perspective is William Preston, Jr., Aliens and Dissenters: Federal Suppression of Radicals, 1903-1933 (2nd ed. 1995).
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    However, the Wobblie rhetoric resonated with leftist artists and intellectuals of the 1920s, who felt their creativity was being stifled by a bourgeois nation. They concluded that the establishment had betrayed the republican ideal that guaranteed their free expression. Furthermore the growing distrust of the government for its wartime suppression of civil liberties, and opposition to postwar prohibition enforcement, raised to prominence the claim that individual constitutional rights should be privileged.

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  84. Rabban, Free Speech; Carolyn West Pace, "Sacco and Vanzetti in American Art and Music." (Ph.D. Syracuse U. 1997); David E. Kyvig, Repealing National Prohibition (1979).
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    S. Efficiency, Purification and Restriction in 1920s

    Once McKinleyite pluralism had been cracked by the war, ethnocultural conflicts were expressed through movements for prohibition, Americanization, immigration restriction, and the KKK. Some historians have argued that powerful nativist forces sought the purification of American society, implying that their goals were an illegitimate denial of equal rights. While this was true enough regarding Chinese and Japanese, nativism was articulated by a handful of publicists who do not seem to have garnered much popular or elite support. As for immigration restriction, the main goal was efficiency. Throughout the 1900- 1930 period the immigration restriction movement was dominated by AFL labor unions, which often were led by immigrants themselves such as Samuel Gompers. The issue was not purification of American ethnicity; it was cheap labor competition. American labor could never be fully efficient and well-paid, the unions argued, if unskilled workers flooded and cheapened the labor pool. If they stopped coming industry would concentrate on upgrading skills. Before 1914, some industries, along with steamship companies and railroads promoted immigration and financed anti-restriction organizations that ostensibly represented the voice of the ethnics.

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  85. Gwendolyn Mink, Old Labor and New Immigrants in American Political Development: Union, Party and State, 1875-1920 (1986); Rivka Shpak Lissak, "The National Liberal Immigration League and Immigration Restriction, 1906- 1917," American Jewish Archives (1994) 46:197-246. John Higham, Strangers in the Land: Patterns in American Nativism, 1860-1925 (1925) remains the classic study, but largely ignores the ethnics themselves, and suggests far too much influence on the part of the writers under scrutiny.
    --- --

    The war proved the surprising result that the economy could do very well without immigrants. The unions won their point and opposition to restriction withered away. The new immigrants matured rapidly during the war--they no longer churned through Ellis Island, they enthusiastically served in the US military, they bought war bonds; they voluntarily "Americanized" themselves. With the successful establishment after Versailles of new nation states, interest in European political aspirations faded away. Thus, with the exception of some Jewish groups who identified with the fate of Jews in Eastern Europe or were committed to Zionism, most American ethnics simply lost interest in Europe.

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  86. On Americanization, see Gullet, Becoming Citizens; Gary Gerstle, "Liberty, Coercion, and the Making of Americans," Journal of American History 84 (1997): 548-557; James R. Barrett and David Roediger, "In-between Peoples: Race, Nationality and the 'New Immigrant' Working Class," Journal of American Ethnic History, 16 (1997): 3- 44; Thomas J. Rowland, "Irish-American Catholics and the Quest for Respectability in the Coming of the Great War, 1900-1917," Journal of American Ethnic History, (1996) 15:3-31; Elliott R. Barkan, "Race, Religion, and Nationality in American Society: A Model of Ethnicity - From Contact to Assimilation," Journal of American Ethnic History (1995) 14:38-75: Russell A. Kazal, "Revisiting Assimilation: The Rise, Fall, and Reappraisal of a Concept in American Ethnic History," American Historical Review, (1995) 100:437-71; Ewa Morawska, "In Defense of the Assimilation Model," Journal of American Ethnic History, (1994) 13:76-97; James R. Barrett, "Americanization from the Bottom Up: Immigration and the Remaking of the Working Class in the United States, 1880-1930," Journal of American History, (1992) 79:996-1020; Lizabeth Cohen, Making a New Deal: Industrial Workers in Chicago, 1919-1939 (1990), ch 2; and John F. McClymer, War and Welfare: Social Engineering in America, 1890-1925 (1980), ch 4-5.
    The left-wing Finns, as anti-republicans, were an interesting case; they resisted Americanization. Some stayed to help found the American Communist party; most were expelled or voluntarily returned to rebuild the Soviet Union with considerable enthusiasm, until the Stalinist purges of the late 1930s. Control of the Finnish American community passed to the Lutheran "Church Finns", who were devoutly republican and anti-radical. P. G. Hummasti, "Ethnicity and Radicalism: The Finns of Astoria and the Toveri, 1890-1930," Oregon Historical Quarterly (1996) 96:362-393; Peter Kivisto, "Finnish-Americans and the Homeland, 1918-1958," Journal of American Ethnic History (1987) 7:7-29; Auvo Kostiainen, The Forging of Finnish-American Communism, 1917- 1924: A Study in Ethnic Radicalism (Turku, 1978).

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    With new-found prosperity in the US, the millions who had once planned to return to the home village decided instead to stay in the New World. The "bird of passage" phenomenon of repeated migration and return ended. Apart from the reunification of split families, the American ethnics were no longer desirous of new arrivals into their communities. Indeed, with both "push" and "pull" factors weakened, fewer Europeans showed any interest in going to the US.

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  87. Ashley S. Timmer and Jeffrey G. Williamson, "Immigration Policy Prior to the 1930s: Labor Markets, Policy Interactions, and Globalization Backlash," Population and Development Review (1998) 24:739-60; James Foreman-Peck, "A Political Economy Model of International Migration, 1815-1914," The Manchester School (1992) 60:359-376.
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    The various restriction laws of the 1920s had two components: sharply lowering the overall volume of immigration, which was remarkably uncontroversial, and distributing the quotas among countries or ethnic groups. Every major interest in America (with some Jewish exceptions) wanted the overall volume of immigration permanently cut back. To reach the next stage of modernization, industry and the ethnic communities themselves had to move beyond unskilled labor. So America had to restrict the overall inflow of unskilled labor. The question of whose quota was bigger than who's was of a separate issue, albeit of moderate symbolic importance. After years of debate the compromise that was reached, and widely supported, was to make the quotas proportionate to the current (1920) population, so that immigration would not in the future change the balance of ethnicity. Thus immigration restriction was not a major political issue in the 1920s; what little complaint came from German and Scandinavian organizations that felt their historic contributions had been slighted. The other ethnics were not mute, as they proved when they organized, voted and made their wishes very clear on the issue of prohibition. They now counted on having a voice not because of greater numbers, but because they had become Americanized--efficient, modern, and republican.

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  88. David J. Goldberg, Discontented America: The United States in the 1920s (1999), ch 7; Higham, Strangers in the Land; Charles P. Howland, ed. Survey of American Foreign Relations (1928) 415-518; Literary Digest May 17, 1924, surveyed the ethnic press. On repeal, see Kyvig, Repealing National Prohibition; Caryn E. Neumann, "The End of Gender Solidarity: The History of the Women's Organization for National Prohibition Reform in the United States, 1929-1933," Journal of Women's History (1997) 9:31-51; Douglas B. Craig, After Wilson: The Struggle for the Democratic Party, 1920-1934 (1992), ch. 12.
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    T. The End of Democracy

    Women suffrage became a reality in 1920. The simultaneous success in other major countries strongly suggests that the most important reason for this timing was women's contribution to the war effort. In terms of republicanism, women had answered the question of what service contribution they could make to a nation's war effort. Feminists looking back to the 1920s too often have underestimated the impact of the new vote on politics. While few women were elected to office, the male office holders certainly paid them attention. Many of the highly salient issues of the 1920s were distinctly "women's issues," especially pacifism and prohibition at the national level, and consumerism, anti-child labor, welfare, medical care, anti-obscenity, sanitation, and education at the state level. Woman suffrage, enacted in 1920, can be seen as the final triumph of the democratic spirit in our period. Masculinity returned with a vengeance in the 1930s, discarding both pacifism and prohibition, and minimizing women's voice in politics.

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  89. Lynn Dumenil, Modern Temper: American Culture and Society in 1920s (1995); Anna L. Harvey, Votes without Leverage: Women in American Electoral Politics, 1920-1970 (1998); Kristi Anderson, After Suffrage: Women in Partisan and Electoral Politics before the New Deal (1996); Sara Hunter Graham, Woman Suffrage and the New Democracy (1996). On welfare, J. Stanley Lemons, "The Sheppard-Towner Act: Progressivism in the 1920's," Journal of American History (1969) 55: 776-786; on obscenity see Alison M. Parker, Purifying America: Women, Cultural Reform, and Pro-Censorship Activism, 1873-1933 (1997). On black women see Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham, "Clubwomen and Electoral Politics in the 1920s," in Ann D. Gordon, ed. African American Women and the Vote, 1837- 1965 (1997). For comparative perspective see Lee Ann Banaszak, Why Movements Succeed or Fail: Opportunity, Culture, and the Struggle for Woman Suffrage (1996). On consumerism, Dana Frank, Purchasing Power: Consumer Organizing, Gender, and the Seattle Labor Movement, 1919-1929 (1994).
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    While the woman suffrage movement was a success, prohibition was a failure as a social movement. Drys assumed a utopia would automatically result, and corruption would dry up, machines wither, and the naturally angelic impulses of civic virtue would come to fore. Hence they did not create a body of precedent, an administrative apparatus, a support mechanism, or a system of alliances with other reforms. Once the govenment started to enforce the Volstead Act, its flaws became glaringly apparent; the initiative switched to the wets.

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  90. Lewis L. Gould, Progressives and Prohibitionists: Texas Democrats in the Wilson Era (1973) 290; Ann-Marie Elaine Szymanski, "'Think Locally, Act Gradually': Political Strategy and the American Prohibition Movement during the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries" (PhD. Cornell U. 1998); Kerr, Organized for Prohibition ch 9.
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    The KKK could have, but did not, play a major role in enforcement of prohibition. Instead, it preempted the field or moralistic movements, weakening its rivals such as the Anti-Saloon League. As a secret society it was unable to forge serious links with other groups, such as the Masons, Protestant churches, or women's clubs. Indeed, the KKK was structured to achieve only one goal: to acquire new members. They had a pyramid scheme that made growth lucrative for the organizers (grass roots recruiters collected $10 dues and were allowed to keep $4, forwarding the remainder upward to the next level of leadership). However, concentration on sheer growth in dues-payers diverting them from building political coalitions that could have been constructed but were not. In 1924 for example, the Klan leaders were not players at the national convention of either party. Its mushroom growth in the early 1920s was phenomenal. However, once it had absorbed most of the eligible pool, growth stopped and thus its functioning stopped. There was no longer a reason to be a Klan leader and the fragile organization imploded after 1925 even faster than it had grown.

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  91. Kerr, Organized for Prohibition, 230-31 255. Historians once considered the KKK a group of marginal misfits--rural traditionalists baffled by the coming of modern, urban society. Recent historiography shows them to be mainstream, urban and modern. They represented a wide cross-section of native Protestants (truncating both the top and bottom of the social structure.) They were thoroughly committed to the notion of republican virtue, and contary to myth, rarely used violence. See Stanley Coben, "Ordinary White Protestants: The KKK of the 1920s" Journal of Social History (1994) 28:155-165; Goldberg, Discontented America, ch 6; Leonard J. Moore, Citizen Klansman: The Ku Klux Klan in Indiana, 1921-1928 (1991); Moore, "Historical Interpretations of the 1920s Klan: The Traditional View and the Populist Revision," Journal of Social History (1990) 24:341-57.
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    Meanwhile the KKK's message that ethnics were un-republican and immoral stimulated the counter-crusading organization of its enemies, as various Catholic ethnics managed to join together-- often coordinating their work with the Jewish community and Protestant newspaper editors. Under the First Amendment banner of religious freedom and "personal liberty," the new coalition claimed that it, rather than the KKK, best represented republican virtue. Further energized by the Al Smith candidacy, a "new ethnic" coalition emerged for the first time; it played a major role in the 1928 election and the subsequent campaign for repeal of prohibition. Thus came into being a major component of the New Deal coalition.

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  92. David J. Goldberg, "Unmasking the Ku Klux Klan: The Northern Movement against the KKK, 1920-1925," Journal of American Ethnic History (1996) 15:32-48; Lichtman, Prejudice and the Old Politics; Jerome M. Clubb, and Howard W. Allen, "The Cities and the Election of 1928: Partisan Realignment?" American Historical Review (1969) 74:1205-1220.
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    Critical to republicanism was the notion of the independent citizen who pursued civic virtue by attending to speeches, evaluating the candidates, and voicing his opinions at the polls. However the rules of the game were changing fast. The success of the massive advertising campaigns for war bonds, and "four minute men" who rallied theater audiences during the war, proved that organized publicity could be decisive. Chicago's leading advertising genius, Albert Lasker, lent his skills to the Harding campaign in 1920. By the late 1920s Washington had become the "happy home of propaganda" thanks to some 2,000 press agents. Add another 5,000 PR men in the nation's media capital of New York City, and it was no wonder that over half the news stories that appeared in newspapers had been planted there by paid press agents more atuned to Sigmund Freud than to Thomas Jefferson.

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  93. Vaughn, Holding Fast, ch. 8-9; John Anthony Morello, ""Candidates, Consumers and Closers: Albert Lasker, Advertising and Politics, 1900-1920." (Ph.D. U. of Illinois, Chicago, 1998); Michael Schudson, The Good Citizen: A History of American Civic Life (1998), ch 5.
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    Intellectuals recoiled at the provincialism of Main Street; some even fled to cosmopolitan Paris. H. L. Mencken remained in Baltimore to orchestrate the ridicule of popular government led by ignorant fools and controlled by demagogues and advertising agencies. Political scientists called for a government run by experts (themselves). Walter Lippmann, who had served as a propagandist during the War, decided that the truly independent civic citizen was all too rare; most people's ideas were controlled by stereotypes rather than rational argument. From this perspective it was just as well that the very act of voting had fallen out of favor. The turnout rate of eligible citizens plunged to 53% outside the South in 1924 (contrasted with 85% in 1896). Big city machines discovered that small turnouts were easier to control, and discouraged voting. In New York City in 1924, only 40% of 6 million adults (including non-citizens) voted for president. It could be even worse for republicanism when they did make their views known. Bryan, himself the embodiment of government by the people, insisted at the Scopes "Monkey Trial" of 1925 that the democratic majority should control what science was to be taught. Had the people of Tennessee put both democracy and religion ahead of the spirit and method by which education was possible? Had they subverted the republican code that ignorance should not prevail over knowledge? Lippmann was forced to conclude. "The democractic phase which began in the eighteenth century has about run its course."

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  94. Lippmann, Men of Destiny (1927), 49, 62; Lippmann, Public Opinion (1922); Westbrook, John Dewey, ch. 9; Christopher Lasch, The True and Only Heaven: Progress and its Critics (1991), 360-68.
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    U. The Great Depression and the End of Progressivism

    The era was ending: one by one the major issues of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era had dissolved or been resolved.

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  95. Henry F. May, "Shifting Perspectives on the 1920s," Mississippi Valley Historical Review (1956) 43:405-27, remains the most insightful essay on how intellectuals thought the old world had culminated, for better or worse, in the 1920s. See also Dumenil, The Modern Temper.
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    There was left only the efficiency-oriented plans of Herbert Hoover to achieve the ultimate modernization of the nation. Hoover as a hyperactive progressive with a strong commitment to republicanism had an unquestioning belief that there existed one best solution to the depression, and that his expertise could discover it.

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  96. Ellis W. Hawley, "Herbert Hoover, The Commerce Secretariat, and the Vision of an 'Associative State,' 1921-1928," Journal of American History (1974) 61: 116- 140; Marc Allen Eisner, From Welfare State to Welfare State: World War I, Compensatory State-Building, and the Limits of the Modern Order (2000), ch. 8; Stephen Skowronek, The Politics Presidents Make: Leadership from John Adams to George Bush (1993), 260-85.
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    Rejecting the advice of Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon to liquidate the downturn quickly, Hoover took a series of steps that slowed the rate of descent, but at the same time prolonged the process and set the stage for a massive system collapse in 1931-32. Each measure brought surprises that were incomprehensible (or at least unpredictable) to the progressive mentality. A few economic examples will show how the Law of Unintended Consequences worked so inexoribly to destroy the last remnants of progressivism.

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  97. David Kennedy, Freedom From Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929-1945 (1999); Albert U. Romasco, The Poverty of Abundance: Hoover, the Nation, the Depression (1965).
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    The Republicans evidently believed their half-century sloganeering about the miraculous curative powers of the tariff. The Smoot Hawley tariff, signed by Hoover in 1930, raised rates but incited Britain, Canada, France, Germany and other trading partners to retaliate, thus further reducing American trade opportunities, and producing the sort of economic autarchy and hostility that undercut trade partnerships and bilateral friendships. Hoover succeeded in stimulating state and local government, as well as Washington, to sharply increase public works spending. The long-term effect was to exhaust credit resources and financial reserves, forcing state and local government to slash unemployment relief programs, and to turn to sales taxes to cover their deficits.

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  98. Ballard Campbell, The Growth of American Government: Governance from the Cleveland Era to the Present (1995); David T. Beito, Taxpayers in Revolt: Tax Resistance during the Great Depression (1989).
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    Hoover appealed to industry in the name of Fordism, to keep wage rates high. They did so at least into 1931, despite falling consumer prices. The idea was that high wages meant high consumer purchasing power, which would pull th economy back to normal. Industry did keep hourly wage rates high for "A" quality workers. But it cut hours and, much more serious, installed rigid hiring practices that turned away underqualified "B" workers at the personnel office. The result was youth who could never get a decent first job, laid off workers over age 45 who would never be hired again, and "B" workers who could never get a good job. For the first time ever, the cities started filling with millions of long-term unemployed able-bodied workers.

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  99. Richard Jensen, "The Causes and Cures of Unemployment in the Great Depression," Journal of Interdisciplinary History 19 (1989) 553-83. See also Ranjit S. Dighe, "A Helicopter Tour of Competing Theories of Wage Rigidity, as Applied to the Great Depression," SUNY-Oswego Economics Department Working Paper 1999-01 (1999) online and Ben S. Bernanke, "The Macroeconomics of the Great Depression: A Comparative Approach," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking (1995) 27:1-28 online
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    Compounding the misery caused by all these mistakes, the Federal Reserve was systematically cutting the money supply by one-third. The concept of gross national product was just being invented, and had not been measured, so perhaps the Fed not see that its actions were cutting back credits and business loans, slashing consumers' discretionary spending power, and reducing the GNP by a third.

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  100. Friedman and Schwartz, Monetary History; this classic finds fresh support in Michael D. Bordo, Ehsan U. Choudhri, and Anna J. Schwartz, "Could Stable Money Have Averted the Great Contraction?" Economic Inquiry (1995) 33:484-505.
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    All along Hoover repeatedly tried to boost business confidence by optimistic expert projections--they always turned out wrong. Under the brilliant genius of Democratic National Chairman John Raskob, the Democrats systematically ridiculed Hoover-as-engineer. It was more than personal politics; it was an attack on root efficiency and modernization policies. Hoover-as-politician was never that strong; with no resources to fight back, he was helpless as voters hooted him out of office. The Depression destroyed not only Hoover's career but also the progressivism of the president and his allies. The issues of the Fourth Party System had now all been resolved or discredited. It was time for a realignment and a new party system The goals of efficiency, modernization, democracy, and republicanism were not dead, of course, but now they would assume new forms, with new rules and a new cast of leaders to shape a New Deal in politics.

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  101. Craig, After Wilson, ch. 9; the best depiction of the utter, total collapse of the old regime remains Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., The Crisis of the Old Order: 1919-1933 (1957).
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