Uncle Sam Wants You: World War I and the Making of the Modern American Citizen

Front Cover
Oxford University Press, Jul 21, 2008 - History - 352 pages
Based on a rich array of sources that capture the voices of both political leaders and ordinary Americans, Uncle Sam Wants You offers a vivid and provocative new interpretation of American political history, revealing how the tensions of mass mobilization during World War I led to a significant increase in power for the federal government. Christopher Capozzola shows how, when the war began, Americans at first mobilized society by stressing duty, obligation, and responsibility over rights and freedoms. But the heated temper of war quickly unleashed coercion on an unprecedented scale, making wartime America the scene of some of the nation's most serious political violence, including notorious episodes of outright mob violence. To solve this problem, Americans turned over increasing amounts of power to the federal government. In the end, whether they were some of the four million men drafted under the Selective Service Act or the tens of millions of home-front volunteers, Americans of the World War I era created a new American state, and new ways of being American citizens.

What people are saying - Write a review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Scapegoats - LibraryThing

This is a book about how World War I transformed the nature of the American state and its relationship to society. Capozzola uses the "I want you" Uncle Sam recruiting poster as a trope to describe ... Read full review


Uncle Sam Wants You
Conscription and Coercion
Objecting to the Wartime State
Women and Coercive Voluntarism
From Vigilance to Vigilantism
Rights in a Culture of Obligation
Loyalty and the Birth of the Surveillance State
Armistice and After

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2008)

Christopher Capozzola is an Associate Professor of History at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Bibliographic information