Ronald Schaffer's America In The Great War Essay

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Ronald Schaffer's America In The Great War

Ronald Schaffer’s America in the Great War gives new insights into World War I.

The book gave historical accounts about the war that other books negated to included.

The thesis that Schaffer tries to prove that the Great War was the start of the American

welfare state and the beginning of “big” government. America in the Great War was

structured in chronological order of the war, from America’s mobilization to the actual

fighting. What the book did not include is a detail account of the fighting. This was the

biggest draw back in a otherwise well thought book.

The book begins with the mobilization of the United State’s industry and man

power. The
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Congress passed many acts that prevented and punished dissent in the Untied

States. Three of these acts were the Espionage Act of 1917, the Trading with the Enemy

Act of 1917, and the Sedition Act of 1918. These acts were successful in limiting the

amount of discontent towards the war. The price of this limited discontent was the

suspension of rights of American citizens. Thousands of Americans suspected of

dissension were arrested and convicted of sedition. Americans were encouraged to tell

government officials of any kind of anti-war activities that they know about. The

government arrested people and sent them to jail for even hinting about anti-war feelings.

This created fear among Americans towards the Federal Government, but did succeeded

in stopping dissension.

The next three chapters focused on the mobilization of American industry to fight

the war. In the years before the Great War, America was making the work place a safer

and better place to work. Labor unions had power to control wages, hours and working

conditions. The Great War for the most part suspended the labor movement. The United

States needed to fight a war, and American industry was key in winning that war. The

Federal Government became heavily involved in controlling industry. The level of control

that the government used was on heard of a few years ago. American labor
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