Transforming the liberal state: gender, class, and ethnicity on the Newfoundland home front, 1914-1918

Westcott, Michael Richard (2019) Transforming the liberal state: gender, class, and ethnicity on the Newfoundland home front, 1914-1918. Doctoral (PhD) thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

In 1914, the Dominion of Newfoundland was thrust into a total war effort. Like other British Dominions, Newfoundland committed its entire civilian population, economy, science, and technology to fighting the war. This dissertation examines how such commitment led to reconceptualizations of gender, class, and ethnicity for the sake of the war effort. Such reconceptualized identities were evident in wartime social phenomena such as prohibition, price control, food rationing, taxation, women’s war work, the treatment of enemy aliens, conscription and food rationing. In each of these cases, Newfoundland’s commitment to the war effort reconfigured gender, class, and ethnicity to help Newfoundland prosecute the war effort, and cope with conditions on the Homefront. This dissertation will argue that alterations to wartime conceptions of gender, class and ethnicity not only allowed Newfoundland to maintain a total war effort but drastically changed the nature of liberal governance in the Dominion. Prior to the war, liberal thinkers focused on the rights of the individual, believing that the government should interfere with the daily lives of individuals as little as possible. As the war progressed, both liberals and Progressives argued that the government owed a duty to maintain the ranks of the Newfoundland Regiment. In return for soldier’s service, many argued that the government owed it to citizens to interfere in free markets, prohibit alcohol, and impose taxation to ensure that citizens maintained a certain standard of living. As a result of the demands of both liberals and Progressives, the Newfoundland government abandoned the traditional liberal focus on the rights of the individual and committed to protecting the rights of all citizens by focusing on the rights of the community. By the end of the war, liberalism in Newfoundland looked much less like Classical Liberalism and much more like a burgeoning Social Liberalism that focused far less on the rights of the individual and far more on the rights of the community.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral (PhD))
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/14535
Item ID: 14535
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (pages 351-359).
Keywords: Newfoundland and Labrador, Home front, First World War, Gender, Ethnicity, Class
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > History
Date: November 2019
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: World War, 1914-1918--Newfoundland and Labrador--Social aspects; World War, 1914-1918--Newfoundland and Labrador--Political aspects; World War, 1914-1918--Newfoundland and Labrador--Economic aspects.

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