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Uncle Sam Wants You : World War I and the Making of the Modern American Citizen



Pub. Date:
Oxford University Press

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This is the edition with a publication date of 4/12/2010.
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  • Uncle Sam Wants You : World War I and the Making of the Modern American Citizen
    Uncle Sam Wants You : World War I and the Making of the Modern American Citizen


In April 1917, the United States embarked on World War I--with little history of conscription, an army smaller than Romania's, and a political culture that saw little role for the federal government other than delivering the mail. Uncle Sam Wants You tells the gripping story of the American homefront in World War I, revealing how the tensions of mass mobilization led to a significant increase in power in Washington. Christopher Capozzola shows how, in the absence of a strong federal government, Americans at first mobilized society by stressing duty, obligation, and responsibility over rights and freedoms. In clubs, schools, churches, and workplaces, Americans governed each other. But the heated temper of war quickly unleashed coercion on an unprecedented scale, making wartime America the scene of some of the nation's most serious political violence, including notorious episodes of outright mob violence. To solve this problem, Americans turned over increasing amounts of power to state institutions. In the end, whether they were some of the four million men drafted under the Selective Service Act or the tens of millions of homefront volunteers--or counted themselves among the thousands of conscientious objectors, anti-war radicals, or German enemy aliens--Americans of the World War I era created a new American state, and new ways of being American citizens. Based on a rich array of sources that capture the voices of both political leaders and ordinary Americans, Uncle Sam Wants You offers a vivid and provocative new interpretation of American political history.

Author Biography

Christopher Capozzola is Associate Professor of History at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Uncle Sam Wants Youp. 3
The Spirit of Selective Service: Conscription and Coercionp. 21
Between God and Country: Objecting to the Wartime Statep. 55
The Obligation to Volunteer: Women and Coercive Voluntarismp. 83
Policing the Home Front: From Vigilance to Vigilantismp. 117
Responsible Speech: Rights in a Culture of Obligationp. 144
Enemy Aliens: Loyalty and the Birth of the Surveillance Statep. 173
Conclusion: Armistice and Afterp. 206
Notesp. 215
Bibliographyp. 281
Indexp. 321
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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