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Christopher Capozzola remains one of the celebrated writers, and one of the most remarkable books is Uncle Sam Wants You: World War I and the Making of the Modern American Citizen. Capozzola has demonstrated the artistic use of manuscript collection as well as extensive use of various published sources that shows his great grasp on the available scholarship on World War I. In chapter four of the book, the author demonstrates how Americans engaged in extralegal actions in the name of supporting the war, and he finds the violence and vigilantism to have been against the Americans intention, which was to wove coercion and as such it was unworthy.
Summary of the Author’s Argument
Capozzola has mainly used various scholarly pieces of literature on World War I to explain some of the important activities that took place during the war. For instance, there was no federal government, and Americans were able to mobile the entire society by stressing the importance of obligation, duty, as well as responsibility. However, the author points out that the Americans ignored rights and freedoms. The high temper that was caused by the war resulted in serious political violence, which includes notorious mob violence. While those who engaged in extralegal actions considered themselves exemplars of vigilant citizenship, the author shows that their victim looked at them as lawless vigilantes who were not worthy of the state’s honor. Voluntary groups, who interpreted the law in their ways, were governing the country, and this made it significantly difficult to achieve unity. Vigilantes did not respect the rights of the people and regulated freedom of speech by promoting what was referred to as “responsible speech”. The author demonstrates through different sources that the use of mass mobilization was unprecedented for an international war.
Giving mob the opportunity to define rules and ways of life of the citizen opens room for such groups to have the power to negotiate for political obligation, which is disastrous to the weak.
The work by Capozzola demonstrates how one can effectively use the existing sources to explain the effect of the war on Americans. The author has managed to show a great recollection of World War I. I find chapter four to be more about civil liberty, where Capozzola explains the role of citizens during the war. The strength is the effective use of available literature to communicate the author’s position. This approach makes the work more persuasive as it adds to the authoritativeness of other respected historians and scholars when referring to their works. The chapter has been properly articulated to the extent that I find it difficult to identify any possible weakness of the work.
The work by Capozzola has dramatically demonstrated how various pieces of literature are valuable in telling the history of Americans citizens and the war. Images such as that of Uncle Sam were essential in shaping the identity of American and in promoting its ideals. Chapter four of the book demonstrates how American citizens were ready to defend their country, but the anger escalated into disastrous mob violence and state of lawlessness. As such, the state had to come in to promote coercion, which significantly altered the civil liberties in the country to date. The book has vividly explained how the civic obligation, as well as responsibility to the state, changed.
Capozzola, Christopher. Uncle Sam Wants You: World War I and the Making of the Modern American Citizen. Oxford: Oxford University Press on Demand, 2008.
. Christopher, Capozzola, Uncle Sam Wants You: World War I and the Making of the Modern American Citizen,
(Oxford: Oxford University Press on Demand, 2008), 118.
. Christopher, Capozzola,
Uncle Sam Wants You: World War I and the Making of the Modern American Citizen,
(Oxford: Oxford University Press on Demand, 2008), 143.
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