Title Reviewed:
America in Ferment

Author Reviewed:
Paul Leland Haworth

L. E.


Indiana Magazine of History, Volume 11, Issue 2, pp 179-180

Article Type:
Book Review

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Reviews and Notes

America in Ferment. By PAUL LELAND HAWORTH, Ph. D. Published by the Bobbs-Merrill Company, Indianapolis, Indiana, 1915. 477 pp.

The above-named volume is one of a series entitled Problems of the Nations, of which Dr. Haworth is general editor and the Bobbs-Merrill Co. the publishers. As indicated by the title of his book Dr. Haworth correctly assumes that the nation is not at ease. During the period roughly marked by the years 1896-1910 the nation was largely satisfied with itself. The general tone of our newspapers and magazines was pride in the achievements and success of our political and business institutions. Beginning with the "Muck-rakers" in the newspapers, extending through a long series of magazine articles and culminating in a flood of books during the last five years, the people have veered around in their attitude to a position of searching criticism.

All our officers, our offices, our institutions, our business organization and practices from the President down to the corner grocery have been before this inquisition in which most of the inquisitors have been self-appointed reporters, magazine writers and authors. These investigations have disclosed certain assumed weaknesses in the political and economic situation. Dr. Haworth has summed up the findings of this long investigation together with the various methods of improvement most in favor. The author has made careful preparation for his work and speaks with confidence. Conservation, Immigration, Race, Industrial Justice, Labor, Trusts, Plutocracy, Standard of Living, Woman Suffrage, Defection, Political Ideals, Socialism are the important problems discussed.

The author is frankly a believer in progress. Like his fellow authors, Croley, Weyl, Van Hise, Wilson, Roosevelt, and Ely, he has a vision of a greater future for this country than the mere production of wealth. "Ideals and ambitions are the soul of a nation; without them it is a body supine, a thing inert." In the chapter headed "The Blood of the Nation" the author makes out a strong case for limiting immigration. The argument is so convincing that one wonders why our Presidents oppose restriction so strenuously. The author plainly states his opinion (p. 108), "One result of the Protective Tariff has been that instead of goods being manufactured abroad and sent hither in the natural course of trade, cheap foreign labor has been imported and the goods have been produced on our own shores." In the chapter on Our Changing Institutions the author pleads for a wider democracy, a larger use of the national power, a greater freedom from judicial tyranny, and a better method of selecting officers.

On the whole one feels after reading the volume that he has had a fair review of the case of the people vs. the government. The weak points of both sides are indicated and the strong points emphasized. The author makes many bold and some startling statements which many readers will take issue with. But in no case can one accuse the writer of hedging. Whether or not they agree in all particulars all good citizens will join with the author in his general optimism, and hope with him that a better public opinion, a stronger government, a higher life, and loftier ideals will result from the present travail.

L. E.

Published by theĀ Indiana University Department of History.