594 CHAPTER 19
Terms & NamesTerms & NamesMAIN IDEAMAIN IDEA
One American’s Story
The War at Home
•War Industries Board
•Bernard M. Baruch
•George Creel •Espionage and Sedition Acts
World War I spurred social, political, and economic change in the United States.
Such changes increased government powers and expanded economic opportunities.
WHY IT MATTERS NOWWHY IT MATTERS NOW
The suffragist Harriot Stanton Blatch visited a munitions plant in New Jersey during World War I and proudly described women at work.
A PERSONAL VOICE HARRIOT STANTON BLATCH “ The day I visited the place, in one of the largest shops women had only just been put on the work, but it was expected that in less than a month they would be found handling all of the twelve hundred machines under that one roof alone. The skill of the women staggers one. After a week or two they master the operations on the ‘turret,’ gauging and routing machines. The best worker on the ‘facing’ machine is a woman. She is a piece worker, as many of the women are. . . . This woman earned, the day I saw her, five dollars and forty cents. She tossed about the fuse parts, and played with that machine, as I would with a baby.”
—quoted in We, the American Women
Before World War I, women had been excluded from many jobs. However, the wartime need for labor brought over a million more women into the work force. For women, as for the rest of society, World War I brought about far-reaching changes.
Congress Gives Power to Wilson Winning the war was not a job for American soldiers alone. As Secretary of War Newton Baker said, “War is no longer Samson with his shield and spear and sword, and David with his sling. It is the conflict of smokestacks now, the com- bat of the driving wheel and the engine.” Because World War I was such an immense conflict, the entire economy had to be refocused on the war effort. The shift from producing consumer goods to producing war supplies was too compli- cated and important a job for private industry to handle on its own, so business and government collaborated in the effort. In the process, the power of govern- ment was greatly expanded. Congress gave President Wilson direct control over much of the economy, including the power to fix prices and to regulate—even to nationalize—certain war-related industries.
Harriot Stanton Blatch followed in the footsteps of her famous mother, Elizabeth Cady Stanton.