Publication Date

April 2018

Advisor(s)

Paul Erickson, Liza Williams

Major

Government, History (HIST)

Language

English (United States)

Abstract

During World War I, eating became a civic act undertaken in support of the western allies. Americans on the home front were asked to change their dietary habits by reducing their food consumption and waste, by procuring their own food in home gardens, and by substituting ingredients in place of those that were most desirable for export. Through the endeavors of the United States Food Administration, an emergency wartime agency led by Herbert Hoover in one of his early forays into politics, the federal government made food and diet into a matter of national concern. Focusing on the programmatic outreach to three important groups on the home front ? women, children, and immigrants ? this thesis explores how the federal government built and implemented a mass political action campaign around food choices and consumption habits. Ultimately, this thesis finds that the Food Administration was heavily indebted to the movement politics and legacies of progressivism and the Progressive Era.

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