Warfare State: World War II Americans and the Age of Big Government

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9780199791019: Warfare State: World War II Americans and the Age of Big Government
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Although common wisdom and much scholarship assume that "big government" gained its foothold in the United States under the auspices of the New Deal during the Great Depression, in fact it was World War II that accomplished this feat. Indeed, as the federal government mobilized for war it grew tenfold, quickly dwarfing the New Deal's welfare programs.
Warfare State shows how the federal government, in the course of World War II, vastly expanded its influence over American society. Equally important, it looks at how and why Americans adapted to this expansion of authority. Through mass participation in military service, war work, rationing, price control, income taxation and ownership of the national debt in the form of war bonds, ordinary Americans learned to live with the warfare state. They accepted these new obligations because the government encouraged all citizens to think of themselves as personally connected to the battle front, and to imagine the impact of their every action on the combat soldier. By working for the American Soldier, they habituated themselves to the authority of the government. Citizens made their own counter-claims on the state―particularly in the case of industrial workers, women, African Americans, and most of all, the soldiers. Their demands for fuller citizenship offer important insights into the relationship between citizen morale, the uses of patriotism, and the legitimacy of the state in wartime.
World War II forged a new bond between citizens, nation, and government. Warfare State tells the story of this dramatic transformation in American life.

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But what he [Professor Sparrow] has accomplished, and it is no small thing, is to show how the Roosevelt administration induced people to buy bonds, pay extremely high taxes, and otherwise support the war effort with a minimum of coercion and a maximum of coaxing. This is an interesting and important story and one that he tells well (William I. O'Neill, War in History)

About the Author:

James T. Sparrow is Assistant Professor of U.S. History at the University of Chicago.

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9780199930357: Warfare State: World War Ii Americans And The Age Of Big Government

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ISBN 10:  019993035X ISBN 13:  9780199930357
Publisher: Oxford University Press, Usa, 2013
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Book Description Oxford University Press, New York/Oxford/London, 2011. Hardcover. Condition: New. 344 pages. Hardcover with dustjacket. New book. WORLD WAR II. Although common wisdom and much scholarship assume that "big government" gained its foothold in the United States under the auspices of the New Deal during the Great Depression, in fact it was the Second World War that accomplished this feat. Indeed, as the federal government mobilized for war it grew tenfold, quickly dwarfing the New Deal's welfare programs. Warfare State shows how the federal government vastly expanded its influence over American society during World War II. Equally important, it looks at how and why Americans adapted to this expansion of authority. Through mass participation in military service, war work, rationing, price control, income taxation, and the war bond program, ordinary Americans learned to live with the warfare state. They accepted these new obligations because the government encouraged all citizens to think of themselves as personally connected to the battle front, linking their every action to the fate of the combat soldier. As they worked for the American Soldier, Americans habituated themselves to the authority of the government. Citizens made their own counter-claims on the state-particularly in the case of industrial workers, women, African Americans, and most of all, the soldiers. Their demands for fuller citizenship offer important insights into the relationship between citizen morale, the uses of patriotism, and the legitimacy of the state in wartime. World War II forged a new bond between citizens, nation, and government. Warfare State tells the story of this dramatic transformation in American life. Features * Significant first book on the rights of citizens and the legitimacy of the state in wartime. * Analyzes changes in personal identity and concepts such as patriotism, national belonging, and social rights. * Speaks to political, social, and cultural history, as well as American political development. James T. Sparrow is Associate Professor of History at the University of Chicago. "Warfare State is one of the most important books on the United States to be published in some time. Sparrow is not the first scholar to argue that it was World War II, rather than the New Deal, that shaped the postwar consensus in support of a stronger, more active federal government. But this clearly written, concise, and yet comprehensive book makes the argument more forcefully and fully than others. Warfare State is a book that historians and students of contemporary American politics need to master; this is scholarship at its best." - Foreign Affairs "One finishes Warfare State with an appreciation of how beautifully wrought a piece of scholarship it is--meticulously researched, graceful written, and politically resonant." - History News Network "James Sparrow's wide-ranging and deeply-researched book helps us to see modern America anew. Warfare State deftly shows how wartime reconfigurations of the U.S. economy, society, and political landscape fueled the explosive growth of centralized authority and set the contours of today's virulent debates about the role of the federal government. A brilliant debut." - Elizabeth Borgwardt, Washington University in St. Louis "When did the American state become a leviathan? In this brilliant book, James Sparrow points to World War II rather than New Deal as the critical moment when the U.S. government entered the lives of its citizens in myriad and profound ways, revolutionizing American politics in the process. Warfare State tells this complex story more vividly, comprehensively, and acutely than any previous account. It also provides an indispensable guide to the battles over government legitimacy and power that so convulse America today." - Gary Gerstle, Vanderbilt University "In challenging the conventional wisdom of a weak American state, James Sparrow brilliantly connects bureaucratic developments in Washington to political culture at the grassroots, showing how th. book. Seller Inventory # 76321X1

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