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Changing the World: American Progressives in War and Revolution / Edition 1

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Overview

In May of 1919, women from around the world gathered in Zurich, Switzerland, and proclaimed, "We dedicate ourselves to peace!" Just months after the end of World War I, the Womens International League for Peace and Freedom—a group led by American progressive Jane Addams and comprising veteran campaigners for social reform—knew that a peaceful world was essential to their ongoing quest for social and economic justice.

Alan Dawley tells the story of American progressives during the decade spanning World War I and its aftermath. He shows how they laid the foundation for progressive internationalism in their efforts to improve the world both at home and abroad. Unlike other accounts of the progressive movement—and of American politics in general—this book fuses social and international history. Dawley shows how interventions in Latin America and Europe affected domestic plans for social reform and civic engagement, and he depicts internal battles among progressives between unabashed imperialists like Theodore Roosevelt and their implacable opponents like Robert La Follette. He draws a contrast between Woodrow Wilson's use of force in exporting American ideals and Addams's more cosmopolitan pursuit of economic justice and world peace. In discussing the debate over the League of Nations within the context of turbulent domestic affairs, Dawley brings keen insight into that complicated moment in American history.

In striking and original ways, Dawley brings together domestic and world affairs to argue that American progressivism cannot be understood apart from its international context. Focusing on world-historical events of empire, revolution, war, and peace, he shows how American reformers invented a new politics built around progressive internationalism. Changing the World retrieves the progressive tradition in American politics and makes it available to contemporary debates. The book speaks to anyone seeking to be both a good citizen within the nation and a good citizen of today's troubled world.

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Editorial Reviews

Reviews in American History - Michael E. Latham
Changing the World is an ambitious and accessible book. . . . [It] will provide students, scholars, and the wider public with an engaging, wide-ranging synthesis of a complex and pivotal period.
Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography - John Whiteclay Chambers II
Bancroft Prize-winning historian, Alan Dawley has once again produced a tour de force. . . . Vividly written, this book is filled with fresh insights on the Progressive Era, from its politics and diplomacy to its architecture.
From the Publisher
"In clean, well-paced prose, Dawley sets the successes—and failures—of early American progressives . . . against the backdrop of a complicated postwar world. . . . This is an especially timely book, given the tense state of world affairs."Publishers Weekly

"Changing the World is an ambitious and accessible book. . . . [It] will provide students, scholars, and the wider public with an engaging, wide-ranging synthesis of a complex and pivotal period."—Michael E. Latham, Reviews in American History

"One does not have to agree with all of the author's points to find this a stimulating, thoughtful examination of 20th-century progressivism."Choice

"Bancroft Prize-winning historian, Alan Dawley has once again produced a tour de force. . . . Vividly written, this book is filled with fresh insights on the Progressive Era, from its politics and diplomacy to its architecture."—John Whiteclay Chambers II, Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography

Reviews in American History
Changing the World is an ambitious and accessible book. . . . [It] will provide students, scholars, and the wider public with an engaging, wide-ranging synthesis of a complex and pivotal period.
— Michael E. Latham
Choice
One does not have to agree with all of the author's points to find this a stimulating, thoughtful examination of 20th-century progressivism.
Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography
Bancroft Prize-winning historian, Alan Dawley has once again produced a tour de force. . . . Vividly written, this book is filled with fresh insights on the Progressive Era, from its politics and diplomacy to its architecture.
— John Whiteclay Chambers II
Reviews in American History
Changing the World is an ambitious and accessible book. . . . [It] will provide students, scholars, and the wider public with an engaging, wide-ranging synthesis of a complex and pivotal period.
— Michael E. Latham
Publishers Weekly
In this sprawling, ambitious work, Dawley, a professor of history at the College of New Jersey, expertly places the history of American progressives' quest for peace and social justice before, during and after WWI in an international context. While examining a subject as vast as progressivism precluded Dawley from delving too deeply into any one aspect of the movement, interested readers will surely find this a useful and unique synthesis of social and political history. In clean, well-paced prose, Dawley sets the successes and the failures of early American progressives, including Jane Addams and Robert La Follette, against the backdrop of a complicated postwar world in which sleeping giants had awakened in China, Russia and Mexico; where social mores and sexual values were rapidly changing; and where laborers, women and people of various ethnicities were beginning the struggle for their rights in earnest. Especially noteworthy is Dawley's treatment of the nascent League of Nations and Woodrow Wilson's famous 14 Points, delivered in 1918, which Dawley declares a stunning manifesto and an extraordinary gesture... that resonated with the best in American history. Although at times an exhausting read, if simply for the sheer breadth of progressive history worldwide, Dawley, winner of the prestigious Bancroft Prize in history for his 1977 book Class and Community, succeeds in his quest to trace to common philosophical roots an array of thinkers, writers, politicians, national movements, revolutions, leaders and their causes: winning social and economic justice, revitalizing public life, and improving the wider world. This is an especially timely book, given the tense state of world affairs. 10 b&w photos. (Apr.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691122359
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 7/5/2005
  • Series: Politics and Society in Twentieth Century America Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 424
  • Sales rank: 1,131,933
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Alan Dawley is Professor of History at the College of New Jersey. He is the author of "Class and Community: The Industrial Revolution in Lynn", which won the Bancroft Prize, and "Struggles for Justice: Social Responsibility and the Liberal State".
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction 1
1 The New Internationalism 13
2 The Social Republic 41
3 Empire and Reform 75
4 Messianic America 107
5 World War and Revolution 143
6 World Leader 181
7 The Millennial Moment 219
8 Retreat from Reform 259
9 Progressive Rebirth 297
Conclusion 333
Epilogue: Legacy 341
Notes 359
Index 387
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