We Know We Belong to the Land - A Hundred Years of Oklahoma and the Congress
World War I and the Roaring Twenties
World War I medal, front

The American entry into World War I not only made the war truly global in nature but also interjected the nation directly into the political affairs of Europe. Initially neutral, but with loyalties divided along immigrant backgrounds, the United States joined the Allies. German submarine warfare violated American neutrality and foreshadowed the economic losses which would accompany an Axis triumph. Congress declared war on April 6, 1917.

Once war was declared, Congress reacted by providing troops through the Selective Service Act of 1917 and focusing on internal loyalty with the Espionage Act of 1917 and Sedition Act of 1918. The economic boom caused by the war ended in the bust of 1919, but was followed by the increasingly heady economic boom of the 1920s.

World War I medal, back
Oklahoma government in the late 1910s largely continued the model of the late Progressive Era. The continued Democratic hold on statewide offices masked a factional Democratic Party and also one of the most active Socialist parties in the nation. The outbreak of war in 1914 had led to a collapse of cotton prices. Usurious agricultural interest rates and increasingly onerous farm tenancy fueled a resurgence of class antagonism. Republicans and Socialists formed a short-lived coalition to end Democrats' monopoly on power.
Everette B. Howard

Above: A member of the Oklahoma State Board of Public Affairs (1911-1915) and former State Auditor of Oklahoma (1915-1919), Everette B. Howard works at his desk in Washington, D.C.  (Courtesy Western History Collections, University of Oklahoma Libraries)

Thomas Chandler

Above: Thomas A. “Bert” Chandler (R-OK, 1917-1918, 1921-1922) was a member of the Cherokee Indian tribe.  During his stint in the House, he worked on issues concerning Indians and believed that protective tariffs on oil would benefit the small producer. Chandler (back row at the left) is shown at a family reunion.  (The Story of Craig County: Its People and Places)

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Copyright © 2007 Carl Albert Center at the University of Oklahoma
Last Modified 04/05
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