The Great War, 100 Years Later

“In our country and others the Progressive, control-oriented state emerged. Wilson had longed for this. John Dewey had longed for this. Many Progressives, both Democrat and Republican, longed for a managerial state that could dispense with the rights of individuals and constitutional limitations. Progressive Woodrow Wilson had for years chafed at the inefficiency of constitutional government, above all the functions of Congress. The war gave him latitude to intervene in many, many economic, social, and intellectual interactions. Just days before the Declaration of War, Wilson asked his closest advisor whether he should bother eliciting a war declaration from Congress or whether he should just start the hostilities and then present the country (and Congress) with a fait accompli. By that time, federal agents were already going through the mails. Opponents of the war were soon to be jailed for sedition. Conscientious objectors would receive brutal punishment, as would pacifists and various other nay-sayers.”