The Council For Defense: Autocracy In Montana, 1917-1918

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Mackin, Mark
William Lang
Rev. Jeremiah Sullivan
Dennis Wiedmann
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The Council For Defense: Autocracy In Montana, 1917-1918
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During World War I an organization entitled the Montana Council for Defense was the nucleus of government in the state. This organization had broad powers and authority. The men who held office in it were themselves influential in the affairs of Montana before the Council for Defense was organized. The content and behavior of the Council will be analyzed in terms of the nature and membership of the Montana Councils for Defense and their place in the social structure of Montana. The connections between members as representatives of a distinct social group are important, for they reveal motives for much of the behavior of the Council. In placing these persons in perspective, the statistical and value components of class indentification must be examined. The important statistical components are social status, education, wealth, vocation or profession, and political participation. The characteristics enumerated point out enough similarities of the Council membership to demonstrate that they are within the bounds of a social stratum (class) clearly enough defined to be dealt with as a particular class. Some characteristics are more important than others, but no one characteristic can be relied upon in full to explain social behavior. The lesser categories help to fill in the portrait of a man or group of men and their social interrelationships. The second component of class identification is values. Values are intangibles which cannot be measured, but can be determined with reasonable accuracy. Interactions of individuals with other individuals and groups is the key. Although values are a set of personal beliefs or convictions, these are rarely stated. Values are most often indicated by behavior. For example, if a person acts to protect civil rights in the face of public opinion, then civil rights are probably valued more than popularity. In a very real sense, values operate in a priority order. The most deeply held values will be most stoutly defended. The relevance of values to class identification is a matter of shared values, i,e., regardless of the statistical placement of an individual, if he tends to act as a member of a particular class, then he may be said to share the values of that class. He may also be said to share the same consciousness or class image.
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