Date of Graduation
Eberly College of Arts and Sciences
This dissertation examines government food control in the United States during the First World War. More specifically, it looks at the food conservation program, and the associated propaganda, formulated by the United States Food Administration (USFA). The USFA was a wartime government agency headed by future president Herbert Hoover. I argue that the philosophy guiding the Food Administration's food control program was clearly influenced by a particular strain of progressivism that men like Hoover subscribed to. Using the input of experts in various fields such as nutrition, physiology, and advertising, the government was able to present a message to the American public that both generated an emotional response to act and educated people in a new, scientific approach to eating. Such an approach allowed Hoover to avoid imposing mandatory rationing, thus preserving the freedom from government intervention into the personal lives of American citizens. In addition to examining the various dimensions of Food Administration propaganda that attempted to stir the emotions and enlighten the intelligence of the people, this dissertation also examines a third theme that is found in the messaging. Hoover and his agency also worked to get Americans to think more about how their food choices might impact people and events overseas. Through their propaganda the Food Administration sought to get people to think more globally when considering the impact of their food choices. Though the Food Administration itself was relatively short-lived, the impact it had on the shaping of modern food culture was rather large.
Smith, James H., "Cultivating Intelligent Consumption: The United States Food Administration and Food Control During World War I" (2015). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 6672.