Master of Arts
During the Second World War, the United States government established the Civilian Public Service (CPS), an alternative service program for conscientious objectors on an unprecedented scale. Though it intended to place men in camps where they would perform "work of national importance" in lieu of military service, the CPS often assigned men to make-work projects that proved inadequate to both the government and the conscientious objectors themselves. Through an examination of the official records, periodicals, and correspondence of a diverse sample of CPS camps, this study contends that the men of the CPS actively sought to reconstruct their work program around projects that demanded extreme physical challenges, difficult environments, and individual sacrifice. By demonstrating the value of dangerous, dramatic service, the men of the CPS created a more satisfactory program and in the process helped to redefine the basis of American citizenship beyond exclusively military service.
Mount, Jonathan, "Finding Work of National Importance: Conscientious Objection, Alternative Service, and Citizenship in World War II" (2014). Theses and Dissertations. 1564.