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Bohi, M. Janette / A history of Wisconsin State University Whitewater, 1868-1968

6 The age of adjustment: atoms and analyses (1939-1955),   pp. 179-200

Page 179

The Age of Adjustment: 
Atoms and Analyses (1939-1955) 
It is all right to build a monumental philosophy that may 
move men to tears and action, but of what use is a monu- 
ment built on sand and mud? 
A man's nature runs either to herbs or weeds; therefore, 
let him seasonably water the one, and destroy the other. 
The business age had done more to change the Whitewater State Teachers 
College (and the nation) than anyone would have dreamed in 1913. The 
local institution of the Salisbury generation had been transformed into one
with a sense of national responsibility, and the incentive to try new things
had brought significant social and curricular changes to the campus. With-
out realizing how it happened, the institution on the Hill had learned to
walk in its college shoes; it had become an extrovert. All this was brought
to light as new opportunities came to face it with reality in a broad national
context and to give it a taste of the salty waters of an ocean of problems
heretofore not unleashed by the Ulysses of time. The United States did 
not wish to spread her wings abroad but was anxious to see to business at
home as it sought an equilibrium under the artificial rays of the New Deal.
H. G. Wells perceptively described the neutral thirties when he said that
every time Europe looked across the Atlantic to view the American eagle 
she saw only the rear end of an ostrich. In October, 1939 60% of the popu-
lation thought it had been a mistake to enter the last war. The frustrations
of trying to make the world safe for democracy had been replaced by 
the pragmatic issue of making one's paycheck sufficient for his stomach.
Despite the awful setback of the depression, men had responded to their 
individual initiatives with a determination to build again the crumbled 
walls of a great America. Gutzon Borglum finished carving the heads of 
the four great Americans on a rocky slope in the Black Hills. Grant Wood's
"American Gothic," picturing the austere approach to Iowa farm
life (cur- 
rently immortalized by Country Cornflakes), was the most popular paint- 
ing at the Chicago Century of Progress Exposition of 1933. The search for

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