The American Pageant (12th Edition)

Chapter 32 – Page 732

Our Critique

732 “Ethnic variety thus undermined class and political solidarity. It was an old American story, but one that some reformers hoped would not go on forever.”

Bailey’s formulation of ethnic and religious tensions is done the way socialists did it. They assumed that “class and political solidarity” is what should naturally occur in society, but it often does not because ethnic and religious differences get in the way. Bailey implies that cultural differences are not really important, and economic differences are. But that is the way socialists and academic people formulate the problem—in the real world, many people care about social issues. To them, God is eternal, and one’s job is very temporary.

732 “One of the last peculiar spasms of the progressive reform movement was prohibition, loudly supported by crusading churches and by many women.”

True, but Prohibition was supported by many progressives as well. Bailey doesn’t really delve into that. Just as progressives believed they could pass a law that would end war, they also believed they could end the selling of liquor with another law. The power of government was there for them to use and to perfect America and the world. As historian Larry Schweikart noted, “It was only after Prohibition ‘failed’ that the Progressives sought to pin the legislation on the rural religious elements.” (Schweikart, 48 Liberal Lies about American History, 91).