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Corporate liberalism and electric power system planning in the 1920s.

Corporate Liberalism and Electric Power System Planning in the 1920s

During the 1920s two groups of political leaders and engineers advocated opposing plans to restructure the electric utility industry in the northeastern United States. At the federal level, electrical engineer William S. Murray and commerce secretary Herbert Hoover supported a plan called Super Power, which advocated the interconnection of utilities operating in the region between Boston and Washington, D.C. In Pennsylvania, governor Gifford Pinchot and Morris L. Cooke, a prominent consulting engineer, proposed another interconnection plan, called Giant Power, which called for an integrated electric transmission and distribution system, rural electrification, coal byproduct recovery, and a reduction in electric power rates for consumers. (1)

The advocates of Super Power and Giant Power were part of an emerging public policy-making sector explained by Ellis Hawley and others in terms of "corporate liberalism." The members of this group created quasi-public agencies to solve economic problems that traditional political and corporate institutions were either unwilling or unable to approach by themselves. Corporate liberalism was characterized by an increased reliance on engineers and other professionally trained personnel. As the problems of the industrial order became more complex, business and political leaders began to rely on the skills of these experts, and the professionals for their part began to develop rationales to support increased involvement in economic planning. (2)

Corporate liberalism, according to its students, also demonstrated a more harmonious relationship between government and business. Antagonisms from the Progressive Era were supposedly replaced by a greater willingness to cooperate in order to resolve serious industrial problems. Corporate liberals apparently shared a set of beliefs about the nature of the economy and about the role of government and trained experts in economic planning. Conflict among corporate liberals was perceived as confined to technical and organizational problems, and as not extending to political and ideological issues. Corporate liberals, accordingly, did not disagree about the nature and goals of corporate capitalism, but rather about the best means of achieving its objectives. This article is a dissent to this interpretation of corporate liberalism.

The concept of corporate liberalism emerged out of attempts to understand the development, growth, and significance of large public and private organizations in the twentieth century. Historians, economists, and other social scientists have long recognized that the emergence of these organizations, in the form of corporations, government agencies, labor unions, or professional societies, had a major impact on American society. But these scholars have disagreed about the nature of this impact, about the role of individuals working within large organizations, and about the interaction between various public and private organizations. An early interpretation, identified by Larry C. Gerber as the pluralist school, argued that the twentieth-century political economy was characterized by government-sanctioned competition among various groups and organizations. For pluralists, the state served as a mediator between competing interest groups, while traditional market forces continued to allocate resources and wealth. Students of pluralism disagree over how well it protected the interests of competing groups. Some have maintained that pluralism prevented any one group from exercising too much power at the expense of other groups. Others have doubted that pluralism effectively served the public interest by balancing group power. (3)

More recent scholars argue that the twentieth-century political economy is best understood as corporatist or corporate liberal. Pluralism, according to their view, does not adequately take into consideration the extent of cooperation between public and private organizations. The old Progressive view of the political economy as a struggle between the corporations and the people no longer seemed to explain the operation of the economy, given the extent to which rival groups sought to promote the general welfare by creating harmony among conflicting interests. (4)

The corporatist interpretation was supported by studies of First World War economic planning, which saw government and business leaders cooperating on such agencies as the War Industries Board to coordinate the production and distribution of war supplies. This experience proved beneficial to business, which appreciated government policies aimed at eliminating waste and inefficiency and at ensuring a stable labor force. In place of the traditional antagonisms between business and government emerged a new approach that stressed cooperation between the public and private sectors. Although these industrial boards were quickly disbanded after the war, a vocal group of business leaders continued to advocate cooperative relations between government and industry into the 1920s. Corporate liberalism seemed to work well when applied to planning during the First World War and the 1920s. (5)

The efforts to create Super Power and Giant Power allow an examination of the usefulness of corporate liberalism for understanding economic planning in the 1920s. The four proponents of these plans--Murray, Hoover, Pinchot, and Cooke--shared certain corporate liberal characteristics. All four agreed that professionally trained experts should play a greater role in planning and that quasi-public agencies should participate in the process. The four men also believed that there should be a measure of public-private cooperation in economic planning.

According to the prevailing view of corporate liberalism, the advocates of Super Power and Giant Power should have agreed on basic economic, political, and social matters. Disagreements between the proponents of the two plans should have been confined to technical details. Super Power and Giant Power, however, represented two fundamentally different conceptions of how the utility industry should be organized and how it should operate. The four proponents agreed that government should be involved in the development of an interconnected power system, but they differed on the exact nature of this role. The two plans also differed with respect to the goals of an interconnected power system. The advocates of Super Power were primarily interested in creating a system that would improve the efficiency of the utility industry without altering its existing corporate structure. By contrast, Pinchot and Cooke wanted an interconnection plan that would curb the economic and political power of the utility industry and lead to a radical transformation of the existing social order. (6)

The differences between Super Power and Giant Power reflect the findings of historians and sociologists interested in the nature of technological change. These scholars argue that the development of technology is a social process influenced by the cultural, social, and economic values of the individuals involved. According to W. Bernard Carlson, "a central idea in these new studies of technology is that individuals and groups assign meanings to technological artifacts, meanings which may reflect both immediate goals as well as larger and more general beliefs." (7) The development of Super Power and Giant Power, complex systems requiring the application of new engineering techniques, was influenced just as heavily by the nontechnological values of their proponents.

Super Power and Giant Power were responses to the need for more efficient production and distribution of electric power. During the first two decades of the twentieth century, industrial and residential electricity demand increased dramatically. The percentage of American homes wired for electricity had increased from 8 percent in 1902 to 24.3 percent in 1917 and to 34.7 percent in 1920. Total production of electricity had increased from almost six billion kilowatt-hours in 1902 to over twenty-three billion in 1920. (8) Industrial demand for electricity also increased as factories shifted from steam to electri-powered machinery and equipment.

Increased consumer demand and the large electricity requirements of war-related industries led to concern about possible power shortages during the First World War. Electrical engineers predicted that power demand would continue to grow in the 1920s, requiring the utility industry to invest millions of dollars in the construction of new power plants. As the war progressed, engineers, business leaders, and public officials realized that a long-term solution to this problem was necessary. Experience during the war revealed that interconnection, which would allow utilities to share electric power resources, was one possible solution to the supply problem. When demand for electricity in one area exceeded the capacity of the local utility, the resources of neighboring utilities could be employed to make up the shortage. The promoters of Super Power and Giant Power sought to apply this principle to utilities operating in the Northeast. (9)

Utility interconnection was a popular issue during the 1920s. As industrial and consumer demand for electricity increased, the public became more interested in inexpensive and reliable sources of power. Consequently, state and federal officials displayed a growing interest in long-term programs that would ensure adequate power supplies and in the implementation of such programs through increased cooperation with utility managers and engineers. As the significance of electrical power to the economy increased, reformers became concerned about the political and economic power of the utility industry. Interconnection gave electrical engineers an opportunity to use their training to solve the utility industry's supply problems. The movement to create regional interconnection systems began during the First World War, when engineers like William Murray and Morris Cooke envisioned such schemes and enlisted the support of political and industry leaders to create them.

William S. Murray and the Super Power Survey

William S. Murray had spent most of his career supervising railroad and utility electrification projects in the Northeast. As a result of this experience, he was familiar with the utility industry's supply problem and recognized the potential of interconnection as a possible solution. The threat of power shortages in the Northeast during the First World War prompted Murray to develop a regional interconnection system called Super Power. Its creation required the resolution of certain technical problems, as well as the attainment of an unprecedented degree of business-government cooperation in solving complicated financial, legal, and political problems. Murray was convinced that these problems could be resolved through government-business cooperation. As he later remarked, "the thought came to me that we needed greater confidence in each other, more unity of effort and broader co-ordination in power production and utilization." (10)

The initial reaction to Murray's plan implied that such cooperation was attainable. In November 1918, Murray presented his ideas to Edward Buckland, president of the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad, who responded favorably and suggested Interior Department sponsorship of the project. The following month Murray met with interior secretary Franklin K. Lane, whose enthusiasm for the idea resulted in a request to Congress for passage of legislation creating a Super Power Survey. The memory of wartime power shortages convinced government officials to support the proposal, which promised the prevention of future power shortages. Congress granted Lane's request in June 1920 by appropriating $125,000 for a power survey and placing it under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Geological Survey. Murray was named director of the survey. (11)

The Super Power Survey began as a classic example of corporate liberalism. The plan was the inspiration of a professional engineer who was attempting to use engineering principles to solve the utility industry's supply problem. Government officials and industry representatives seemed eager to support the project. The federal government provided funds, office space, and engineers. The effort to create Super Power was divided into technical and corporate components. Murray and a staff of engineers collected power production and consumption data, which were used to determine the location of long-distance power transmission lines and the construction of new generating plants. Most of the railroads and utilities in the Northeast cooperated with the time-consuming survey. An advisory board, created to settle the corporate, legal, and financial features of the plan, included prominent engineers and utility and railroad executives. Among the board's members were Buckland; Herbert Hoover, who represented the mining industry; Abraham Hardin, vice-president of the New York Central Railroad; Charles L. Edgar, president of Boston Edison; and Matthew S. Sloan, president of Brooklyn Edison. Lester P. Breckinridge, professor of mechanical engineering at Yale, served as the board's chairman. (12)

The Super Power Advisory Board, which met between September 1920 and June 1921, had to create an organization to raise capital for the construction of transmission lines and power plants and to manage the regional system. The system's relationship to the existing utility industry and to the federal and state regulatory systems also required definition. Murray stressed that Super Power would not challenge the corporate structure of the utility industry; it was designed to supplement the existing capacity of the industry, not to deprive private utilities of control over their own operations. (13)

As the Super Power Advisory Board began to discuss the corporate and financial details of the plan, it became apparent that to achieve its goals the proposed Super Power system would have to possess some control over the operation of local utilities. Because the system was designed to make power production and distribution more efficient, provisions would have to be made for the removal of obsolete plants and equipment, a process that utility managers had found time-consuming and difficult. As Charles Edgar of Boston Edison noted at the first Super Power Advisory Board meeting, the financial arrangements of the proposed Super Power plan would be difficult to resolve because provisions would have to be made to reimburse utilities for investment in existing facilities. Edgar remarked that "it is very hard to convince people who have such investments that they would benefit by scrapping them." (14)

The proposed Super Power system also required authority to allocate power supplies between local utilities. The advisory board faced the difficult task of creating an entity capable of coordinating the physical operation of local utilities without altering the existing corporate structure of the industry. As the advisory board began deliberations, it became evidence that this assignment would be difficult, if not impossible, to accomplish. Lester Breckinridge appointed a special subcommittee, consisting of Matthew Sloan, Edward Buckland, and William S. Barstow, to draft a corporate charter for the proposed Super Power system. The subcommittee recommended that a "North Atlantic Super Power Company" be created and that, since the enterprise would be engaged in interstate commerce, it be chartered and regulated by the federal government. (15) The role of government, however, was a sensitive issue for the board to resolve. The representatives of the utility industry were generally hostile to government regulation and believed that investors would find the project more attractive without it. Nevertheless, the board realized that the project would not receive much public support without some regulatory provisions. Elisha Lee, vice-president of the Pennsylvania Railroad, noted that without regulation the advocates of public power would oppose the plan. (16)

The regulation problem was complicated by the inadequacies of existing utility regulations. Coordination between the state and federal levels was lacking. The transmission of power across state lines was under federal jurisdiction, but the production and distribution of power within the states was in the domain of state utility commissions. Moreover, state and local regulations lacked uniformity. Maine, for example, did not allow the exportation of power across its borders, and Connecticut prohibited its importation. No adequate provisions for federal regulation of the system existed. The sole federal agency directly concerned with electric power, the Federal Power Commission, had authority only over the licensing of water power sites. (17)

By February 1921 the advisory board had decided to ask Congress to create a Federal Super Power Corporation, through either a special act or a general incorporation law allowing the government to establish interstate production and transmission companies. Regulatory conflicts were resolved by allowing the states to retain police and tax power over the part of the system operating within their borders and by giving the federal government authority over the interstate aspects of the system. The states also retained the right to review stock issues of the Super Power corporation. Interior secretary Barton B. Payne recommended that the Federal Water Power Act be amended to allow federal charter. (18)

On 13 and 20 May 1921, the advisory board presented the details of the Super Power proposal to a group of utility executives, including John W. Lieb, vice-president of New York Edison; Sydney Z. Mitchell, president of Electric Bond & Share; and Henry I. Harriman, president of New England Power. The minutes of these meetings reveal no utility industry opposition to the technical details of the Super Power plan. Most of the questions or problems raised by these executives concerned legal and financial matters. As Harriman noted, "any remarks or criticisms which I might have to make are not directed toward the project but are rather questions regarding the legal and financial aspects of the problem." (19)

Convened to obtain the support of the major utility executives in the Northeast, the meetings soon revealed serious objections to the plan. In his summary of the corporate and financial details of the proposed Super Power charter, William Barstow maintained that federal regulation of the system was essential because state regulation tended to have an adverse effect on rate schedules. For the Super Power corporation to be a financial success, the prices charged for power needed to be competitive with existing utility rate schedules. This contradicted Murray's earlier assurance that the system would not compete with existing utilities and raised concerns about potential competition from the proposed Super Power Corporation. Because the Federal Water Power Act did not limit the right of a federal corporation to market power, the board could not give a definite answer to John Lieb's question of whether the system would sell its power exclusively to the utilities or sell directly to consumers. (20)

Sydney Mitchell asked if the proposed amendments to the Federal Water Power Act would extend federal authority over steam power plants and transmission lines. Edward Buckland answered that it would apply to steam plants organized under federal law. Mitchell reacted violently to the whole idea and called it "crazy and foolish." He told the board that "there has been too much irritating, restrictive, unwise, nagging regulation and direction of the details of things in an unbusinesslike way from the Departments in Washington for many years. There is nothing I know of, unless it is bubonic plague or leprosy that business abhors and dislikes more." (21) Clarence E. Groesbeck, vice-president of Electric Bond & Share, echoed this view. "We want to keep away from the federal government regulation all we can. . . . This will be a private institution, privately financed and you must keep clear of this Federal Water Power business." (22)

The reaction of these executives indicated that the utility industry would not support the development of a Super Power system under the terms proposed by the survey. The Super Power Survey submitted its final report on the technical aspects of the plan to Congress without recommendations for the creation of a Super Power Corporation.

In his study of the utility industry, Thomas Hughes argued that high demand for electricity during the First World War forced utility managers to consider interconnection. Although demand eased after the war, officials persisted in promoting interconnection, which then became, according to Hughes, "a solution in search of a problem." (23) The pressure to create interconnection systems persisted until a conservative reaction set in. Hughes correctly identified the trend in the utility industry after the war, but he did not identify the causes of this conservative reaction. If Super Power was conceived in response to the needs of the utility industry, why were utility executives reluctant to endorse the scheme? Why were they willing to consider Super Power in 1919, but willing to reject it in 1921, when the final details of the plan were revealed?

What began as a promising exercise in business-government cooperation failed for several reasons. Utility managers feared that Super Power would lead to increased government regulation over the industry and that it would compete with their own businesses. The rapid development of utility holding companies during the 1920s was also responsible for the failure of Super Power. In the early years of the industry, most utilities were locally owned and operated, but as electricity demand increased and as generators, transformers, and long-distance power lines were perfected, the industry was encouraged to consolidate the management of local companies through the formation of holding companies to provide centralized managerial, engineering, and financial services.

In order to organize holding companies, however, the utility industry needed a reliable source of capital. Such capital was scarce in the brief but sharp economic recession following the First World War. This condition may have prompted the utility industry to support the Super Power Survey when it was proposed in 1919. When the economy improved in 1921 and capital became more readily available, the utility industry could proceed with the formation of holding companies without government support and encouragement. By the mid-1920s these holding companies dominated the utility industry, controlling over two-thirds of its generating capacity. The holding company gave the utility industry the institutional structure and financial resources to develop interconnected power systems without the need for government involvement. (24)

Sydney Mitchell, the utility executive who criticized Super Power at the May 1921 advisory board meeting, was a key figure in the development of these holding companies. According to Hughes, Mitchell's company, Electric Bond &

Share, by 1924 "controlled at least 10 percent of the energy generated by the [utility] industry." (25) As industry was taking steps on its own to achieve the plan 's goals through the creation of holding companies.

In the case of Super Power, there were limits to how far utility managers were willing to cooperate with quasi-public agencies to solve industry problems. These managers were apprechensive about schemes that raised complicated and troublesome political questions, and their concerns were aggravated by an increasingly vocal group of electric utility industry critics. Utility managers preferred to deal with the industry's problems on their own terms. Interconnection, as far as the utility managers were concerned, would have to be achieved through private efforts.

One such effort was the organization of the American Superpower Corporation in October 1923, "intended as an instrument for an anticipated superpower interconnection development." (26) On the board of directors of this corporation were William Murray and Sydney Mitchell. The experience of Super Power indicates that corporate liberal attempts to solve economic problems worked only in situations where private industry needed grovernment assistance and cooperation. Where no such need existed, business leaders preferred to handle their own problems.

Gifford Pinchot, Morris Cooke, and Giant Power

Gifford Pinchot and Morris L. Cooke were also interested in the development of an interconnection plan for the Northeast, but their approach addressed a different set of political and economic concerns. The development of utility holding companies enabled the industry to solve some of its supply problems, but it also led to the concentration of economic control within the industry and to opportunities for taking advantage of power consumers and investors through financial mismanagement. According to Broadus Mitchell,

the pyramided utility holding company became the symbol of promotional success through financial trickery. Too often a superstructure of legal claims without economic or ethical warrant was erected on a base of operating properties which received little benefit and were compelled to overcharge the customers they had, and to neglect potential users who could not pay the exorbitant rates. (27)

Pinchot and Cooke were deeply concerned about the development of these large utility holding companies. As Cooke told Henry L. Stimson, "I become more and more anxious as to how we are going to control these new electrical developments. Unification of these interests is going forward at an increasingly rapid rate." Cooke told Pinchot in 1924 that "recent consolidations and proposed consolidations suggest that they are being used as the occasion for the watering of securities in a way as to fix upon us for some time to come rates which will not permit that free use of current." (28)

Pinchot and Cooke wanted an interconnection system that would both prevent the growth of the industry's economic power and address what they considered to be the needs of farmers and other power consumers. They believed that an interconnected system should provide cheaper, more reliable service to urban consumers and extend electric service to rural areas. They envisioned that the creation of their interconnected power system in Pennsylvania would help usher in a revolution in social and economic relationships. Lowered electric power rates would relieve the drudgery of housework. The extension of electric power service to rural areas would make farm work more efficient and congenial, and it would alleviate the problems of urban life by allowing the decentralization of industrial production. (29)

Pinchot and Cooke were corporate liberals in several respects. They believed that economic problems could be solved through long-term planning and greater cooperation between business and government. They also believed that experts and engineers should play a larger role in economic planning. Unlike other corporate liberals, however, their actions were not motivated solely by a concern for the welfare of private industry. Pinchot and Cooke were not opposed, in principle, to corporate capitalism, but they believed that it should act more responsibly. In their careers, the two men exhibited a desire to apply scientific principles to the management of public resources and government operations and a tendency to oppose unfair exploitation of public resources by private economic interests.

Pinchot became chief of the U.S. Forest Service in 1898, a position he used to protect national timber, coal, and water resources from wasteful private development. Although not opposed to the commercial development of natural resources, he believed it should be planned and regulated by the federal government to protect the public interest. Under Pinchot's direction the Forest Service "pioneered in the development of administrative procedures to deal with such larger issues as the control of economic power, the resolution of conflict in the community and extension of governmental authority." (30)

Pinchot's brand of corporate liberalism emerged from his experiences as chief forester from 1898 to 1910. Under Theodore Roosevelt, Pinchot served on several commissions created to improve the federal government's administrative efficiency. The National Conservation Commission, created by Roosevelt in 1908 at the instigation of Pinchot to assess the country's natural resources, was an early example of corporate liberal planning. Pinchot was named chairman of the commission, which was staffed by government officials, business leaders, and scientific experts. (31)

Pinchot's political and economic radicalism was also a result of his experiences as chief forester and his close association with Theodore Roosevelt. As befitted a member of the upper class, Pinchot was a conservative on economic questions until he graduated from Yale. This perspective changed dramatically in the late 1890s and early 1900s, however, as Pinchot waged a frustrating campaign to get private livestock, mining, and timber interests to support his conservation policies. The efforts of those interests to gain control of the nation's natural resources convinced Pinchot of the need for greater government regulation of business.

Pinchot became an outspoken critic of economic monopoly, which he regarded as "power not only over the supply of natural resources, but also power to fix prices and exact unfair profits which lead to higher living costs for the people." (32) After his removal as chief forester by President William H. Taft in 1910, Pinchot devoted much of his energy to the national Progressive Party and to Theodore Roosevelt's 1912 presidential campaign. He helped draft Roosevelt's radical Osawatomie speech, who called for, among other things, "more central authority to regulate society for the benefit of the people and to protect society from wealthy special interest groups." (33)

Morris Cooke graduated from Lehigh University in 1895 with a degree in mechanical engineering. In 1903 he became an associate of Frederick W. Taylor, a mechanical engineer who advocated a management system aimed at increasing the efficiency of labor. Scientific management gave Cooke a formula for replacing corrupt political leaders with professionally trained experts, who would provide cheaper, more efficient, and more honest government. Disturbed by political corruption and by the growing influence of large corporations and the willingness of engineers who worked for them to serve corporate interests without question, he believed that the engineering profession should play a greater role in social and economic reform. (34)

Named by Philadelphia's reform mayor, Rudolph Blankenburg, to head the city's Public Works Department in 1911, Cooke seized the opportunity to apply the principles os scientific management to municipal government. He restructured the department, improved the quality of its services, and instituted suits against the city's gas and electric utilities. Considering the Philadelphia Electric Company's rate schedule excessive, he planned to bring the company before the state Public Utility Commission. When the city council refused to allow him to do so in an official capacity, Cooke brought the suit as a private taxpayer. Cooke's tenure as director of public works established him as a leading proponent of efficiency in government and as an opponent of the financial irresponsibility of the utility industry. (35)

Cooke became interested in interconnection while serving as head of the Power Section of the Emergency Fleet Corporation during the First World War, a position that required him to meet the shipbuilding industry's large power requirements. Cooke first described the ideas that formed the basis of his Giant Power proposal in March 1918: "The cost of electricity, both in Britain and in America, can be very much reduced by a consolidation of power interests, or a series of gigantic super-power stations. In Great Britain, these large generating stations would be a comprehensive system of high tension transmission [lines]." (36)

Immediately after the war Cooke supported Murray's Super Power plan. Cooke had been Murray's classmate at Lehigh University and had commissioned him to study hydroelectric power development at Wallenpaupack, Pennsylvania, during the war. Although Cooke did not participate in the preparation of the Super Power Report, he supported the efforts to obtain a congressional appropriation for the study. When the Super Power Report was released in 1921, Cooke admitted that he had "not had a chance . . . to read the report and its conclusions but Murray's thinking a year or two back was very fundamental and seemed to point the way to a new day in this field." (37)

In 1922 Cooke's support of Super Power and his relationship with Murray changed dramatically. He began to doubt the "soundness" of Murray's attitudes toward interconnection after a dispute involving a publicly owned utility in Canada, the Ontario Hydro-Electric Power Commission. Cooke admired the commission's ability to lower power rates and to electrify farms. Ontario Hydro-Electric provided Cooke with "proof of his contention that lower rates would increase consumption, for the people of Ontario cities used twice as much current as did the average household in the United States." (38)

The utility industry, in an effort to disprove this claim, hired Murray to write a report showing that power rates were just as high in Ontario as they were in the United States. The report revealed Murray's opposition to government ownership of the utility industry. Murray told Cooke that "the public is better served under the conditions of private ownership and public regulation than under government ownership and control, as the efficiency of organization in the former case is best." (39) As Murray later wrote, "governmental ownership eliminates all incentive for gain and throttles initiative. This is evidenced by the far greater growth of privately owned utilities." (40) Murray believed that the industry should be allowed to develop an interconnected power system without government interference. He welcomed government assistance, but felt that managers and engineers employed y the utilities should bear the main burden of designing and operating the system.

Cooke did not consider the controversy over private versus public ownership to be particularly important. He was not necessarily in favor of public ownership; he was interested only in "how such properties are managed, no matter who does it." (41) The dispute, however, convinced Cooke that Murray was being used by the utility industry to further its interests at the expense of the public. Cooke publicly labeled the Murray Report a "splendid example of NELA [National Electric Light Association] Vernacular" and privately told Murray that his report was "the result rather of the variety of speech which seems to come out whenever the electric industry meets the public. I never before heard you fall into this vernacular. I suppose this is where I got my shock." (42) Cooke began to perceive Super Power as an attempt by the utility industry to obtain the benefits of interconnection without passing any advantages along to consumers.

Pinchot's election as governor of Pennsylvania in the fall of 1922 gave Cooke an opportunity to develop an alternative interconnection plan. Pinchot ran on a platform that included consideration of the electric power issue. (43) Cooke conceived an interconnection plan that would remedy what he considered serious defects in Super Power and that would incorporate his own economic, political, and social values. Following his inauguration in January 1923, Pinchot obtained from the state legislature an act creating a Giant Power Survey Board and named Cooke as its director.

Cooke presented the Giant Power plan on 28 January 1924. It proposed construction of large mine-mouth generating plants (500,000 kilowatts) near western Pennsylvania bituminous coal fields, coal byproduct recovery, and a trunk line system of 220,000-volt transmission lines. It also called for an integrated transmission and distribution system, lower electrical rates for consumers, and rural electrification. (44) Cooke divided the power industry into three functions: production, transmission, and distribution. Under Giant Power each of these functions was to be performed by separate entities. Production companies would operate generating plants located near the coal mines and sell power to transmission companies at wholesale prices. The transmission companies, in turn, would maintain the state's long-distance transmission lines and sell power to the distribution companies--in most cases, existing power companies.

By dividing the utility industry in this manner, cooke hoped to thwart the development of holding companies. Besides encouraging existing utilities to apply for charters, Cooke wanted to include provisions allowing new entries into the business. By making it easier for new power companies and rural cooperatives to enter the field, Cooke hoped to make more competitive an industry that he perceived as becoming increasingly monopolistic. The system would be regulated by the Public Service Commission and a new, permanent Giant Power Board, which would have authority to grant charters to production and transmission companies. (45)

Coal byproduct recovery and rural electrification were important features of Giant Power. Giant Power, according to Cooke, would consume 20,000 tons of coal per day, providing a reliable and steady market for Pennsylvannia's bituminous coal industry. Cooke believed the sale of coal byproducts would reduce the cost of electricity production and expected recovery to produce ammonium sulfate, benzol, tar, oil, and pitch. In an effort to encourage rural electrification, Cooke wanted the Public Service Commission to require utilities to extend service to remote areas. He also wanted to encourage the formation of rural mutual distribution companies in areas where farmers could not obtain power from existing utilities. These rural cooperatives would buy power from Giant Power transmission companies in the same manner as the distribution companies did. (46)

Cooke also wanted to change the basis for electric power ratemaking. He was disturbed by the disparities in rates charged to large industrial customers and to residential users. According to Cooke, the rates charged to residential consumers were up to ten times as high as those charged to industrial customers. Residential users provided two-thirds of the industry's revenue while using only one-fifth of its output. (47) Cooke believed that utility rates could be adjusted downward as a result of economies achieved by the development of interconnected power systems, but that such revision was forestalled by industry opposition. By changing the method of establishing rates, Cooke hoped to make it harder for utilities to charge discriminatory rates. Instead of setting rates according to the replacement value of a power company's physical plant, Cooke wanted to set rates according to the amount invested prudently in the utility. (48)

Changing the method of setting utility rates required a change in the relationship between private utilities and the Pennsylvania Public Service Commission. Cooke and Pinchot believed that the commission had done little to encourage extension of rural electric service or to prevent discriminatory rates. In the Giant Power Report, cooke noted that "regulation at present affords almost no incentive to efficiency." (49) The commission seemed to have little interest in these problems, a perception supported by the failure of commission officials to attend Giant Power Board meetings regularly. Pinchot was careful not to antagonize the commission publicly, but he suggested privately that the utility industry had captured the state's regulatory machinery. (50) A permanent Giant Power Board with full authority to regulate the state's integrated power system would address these problems.

Pinchot and Cooke wanted to expand Giant Power beyond the borders of Pennsylvania into New York and New Jersey, and they launched efforts to gain support for Giant Power from the leaders of those states. Cooke told George L. Record, a Jersey City lawyer and Progressive Republican active in utility reform, that "your state will be dependent on power generated outside its borders. . . . There really does not seem to be much doubt that New Jersey in the not far distant future will depend--certainly for any extension of its power use--on current transmitted from Pennsylvania." (51) Initially the governors of New York and New Jersey, Alfred E. Smith and George Silzer, responded favorably to Giant Power. As Cooke told Philip Wells, the deputy attorney general of Pennsylvania, "I had a nice chat with Al Smith yesterday and barring the fact that he is the most vociferous tobacco chewer of my acquaintance, we got along very nicely. Fortunately I wasn't wearing my new suit!" Cooke further noted, "I gather from my talk with Smith and the letter from Silzer that we have something real." (52)

Smith and Silzer, however, later attempted to back out of negotiations for an interstate agreement with Pennsylvania. In January 1925, Silzer wrote Pinchot, "I think it would be unwise to try to enlist my state unless there is something tangible in sight." (53) Smith wanted to put the New York State Public Service Commission in charge of the negotiations with Pennsylvania and New Jersey, a move that would harm the chances for a treaty because of the opposition of the commission's chairman. (54)

The Giant Power Report was submitted to the Pennsylavania legislature in February 1925. Opponents of Giant Power were quick to criticize the plan on technological, economic, and political grounds. Cooke's brother, Hedley, a New York corporate attorney who worked for utility interests, "told him that the plan could not be harmonized with the interests of the consumers or of the tens of thousands of security holders." William Murray referred to Cooke's ideas as "communistic" in a letter to Electrical World. (55) Charles Penrose, chairman of the public relations section of the Pennsylania Electric Association, considered Giant Power technology to be "radical" because mine-mouth plants were too lrge to achieve byproduct recovery, and 220,000-volt transmission lines had not been proven feasible. Penrose believed that it would be a mistake to construct large power plants near the state's coal mines because of limited supplies of cooling water.

Cooke's mine-mouth generating plants required large quantities of water to condense the stem exhausted from the turbines. An electric generating plant required four hundred tons of cool water for every ton of coal burned. Generating plants were usually constructed on rivers that had ample supplies of cool water, but Pennsylvania's coal region lacked large rivers. Cooke proposed to solve this problem by constructing dams to provide water during the slack season. He also proposed to construct large cooling towers that would condense steam atmospherically. Cooke noted that the Germans had been able to use cooling towers for power plants located in areas where water was scarce. (56)

Pinchot submitted seven Giant Power bills to the legislature in January 1926, which were referred to the Senate Committee on Corporations and the House Manufacturers Committee. (57) At hearings held in January and February, a group of prominent electrical engineers, including Harold Buck, Arthur E. Kennelly, and Paul Lincoln, testified that Giant Power was unnecessary because the utility industry was already implementing many of the proposed reforms. They also maintained that Giant Power technology was unproven and unreliable, and that the plan would scare off new sources of capital. (58) To Cooke, the industry's use of engineers to condemn what he considered a sound technical plan was an indication of how private interests had been able to subvert the integrity of the profession.

The technical arguments against Super Power obscurred the real objections to the plan: that it threatened to transform the structure of the utility industry dramatically and to increase the ability of the Pennsylvania state government to regulate the utilities. In the end, the utility industry's opposition prevailed. On 8 February 1926, the joint legislative committee reported the bills to the legislature unfavorablty. The Pennsylvania Senate subsequently defeated the measures, and the House of Representatives never brought them to a vote.

Herbert Hoover and the Northeastern

Super Power Commission

The promotion of Super Power and Giant Power reveals the limitations of corporate liberalism for understanding economic planning in the 1920s. The proponents of these two plans differed not only over technical details, but also over important political and social questions. Herbert Hoover's efforts to promote Super Power in 1923 provide further evidence of the sharp differences that existed among corporate liberals. Hoover's strategy to create Super Power required him to invite Pinchot and Cooke to participate in a Northeast Super Power Commission. This invitation and Pinchot and Cooke's need to respond to it in a manner that would not jeopardize their own plan brought into sharper focus the differences between the two projects. The interaction among Hoover, Pinchot, and Cooke shows that they disagreed over more than technical details.

After the Super Power Advisory Board submitted its formal report to Congress in June 1921, Hoover assumed leadership of the movement to adopt the plan. In April 1922, Hoover presented the details of the plan to Warren G. Harding's cabinet and held a series of meetings with William Murray and other Super Power supporters. (59) The press erroneously credited Hoover with being the originator of Super Power and attributed his interest in the plan to the larger goal of eliminating industrial waste and inefficiency. Despite this early activity and press attention, Hoover did not actively promote Super Power until the end of August 1923, when he told Murray that "the time until the end of August 1923, when he told Murray that "the time has come when we might put another punch into the superpower idea." (60)

As a member of the Super Power Advisory Board, Hoover was uncomfortable with the decision to create Super Power under the auspices of the federal government. Hoover welcomed federal support of economic planning, but he did not want it to play a controlling role. Hoover's response to economic planning in the 1920s was shaped by a belief that industrial problems could be solved through voluntary government-business cooperation and through reliance on the expertise of engineers. Hoover believed that industrial progress had been achieved largely as a result of traditional American values--free enterprise, individualism, and minimal government interference in economic activity. As a result, he defined a formula that would allow government-business cooperation in planning without altering those values or institutions. He envisioned the creation of voluntary organizations staffed by enlightened business people, engineers, and public officials. Identified as "associationalism" or "voluntarism," this formula would allow members of the public and private sectors to plan together without excessive government regulation. (61)

Voluntarism defined Hoover's general approach to planning in the 1920s. His specific strategy for creating Super Power was the result of his experience as a federal representative to the Colorado River Commission, a cooperative effort of six western states to develop the water resources of the Colorado River Basin. Using Article Six of the Constitution, which allows states to negotiate interstate agreements, the commission drafted a compact for California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming. Hoover wanted to draft a similar compact to create Super Power in the Northeast. (62)

Hoover decided to invite the governors of the Northeast to a conference to discuss the Super Power plan. Guy Tripp, the chairman of Westinghouse, advised Hoover that a conference of state, as opposed to federal, officials was the best approach to Super Power development because the scheme required uniform state utility regulations. Tripp warned Hoover, however, that "such a course would involve the danger of fanning the fire of government ownership agitation before public opinion is sufficiently informed as to what superpower is, and this might tend to alarm private capital." (63) Tripp also noted that Hoover would not be able to proceed without the support of the utility industry, which was doubtful. Tripp wanted Hoover to wait.

Ignoring this advice, Hoover invited the Federal Power Commission and the state utility commission chairmen of eleven northeastern states to a meeting on 13 October 1923 to "consider what constructive steps might advantageously be takne to further the development of Super Power." (64) This meeting resulted in the creation of a Northeast Superpower Commission. An engineering subcommittee, created to consider the technical details of the plan, proposed the development of hyrdroelectric projects, the construction of large centralized steam plants, and the immediate interconnection of all utilities within the Super Power zone. (65)

Hoover outlined his philosophical approach to Super Power development in a statement read to the officials at the October meeting. Hoover did not contemplate extensive federal involvement in interconnection, nor did he see a need for changes in existing state regulations. As he noted, "this conference is not conceived as more Government in Business. The public authorities are already deeply in the power business through many forms of regulation and a very large measures of control of power resources." Hoover also stressed that he did not propose any changes in the existing structure of the utility industry. His primary goal was to improve the efficiency of the existing utility system, not to alter its stucture or to use Super Power to curb the industry's economic power. "The natural development of this situation lies first in the interconnection of power supplies between the existing great utility system." (66) Hoover believed that the utility industry had made great progress in establishing a productive power system despite extensive state utility regulation. He was not inclined, therefore, to hinder further development by tampering with its structure.

Hoover's approach to Super Power required him to invite Pinchot and Cooke to participate in the Northeast Super Power Commission. The development of Hoover's Super Power system would have been impossible without the involvement and support of Pennsylvania, one of the Northeast's largest industrialized states. Pennsylvania possessed vast coal resources that would provide ample fuel for large Super Power stations. At the same time, however, Hoover was beginning to regard Pinchot, Cooke, and their Giant Power scheme as visionary, radical, and dangerous. (67) By inviting them to participate in his Super Power proceedings, Hoover hoped to sidetrack Giant Power.

Pinchot and Cooke were just as apprehensive of Hoover's motives. Cooke believed that Hoover's October power conference was instigated by Murray and by Merlin H. Aylesworth, managing director of NELA. According to Cooke, Hoover was being used as the "mouthpiece" of the utility to secure adoption of the Ferris amendment to the New York State Constitution, a measure that would allow the New York legislature to authorize the use of forest preserves for water power development. (68) Under the provisions of this amendment, the legislature could allow the state government or private companies to develop water power sites under fifty-year leases. Conservation interests opposed the legislation. (69)

Despite his suspicious, Cooke concluded that Pennsylvania should cooperate with Hoover. Cooke and Pinchot were confident that they could kill Hoover's effort at any time. In the meantime, they would maintain a stance of public cooperation without making a commitment to Super Power. As Cooke told Philip Wells, "I guess the thing will die of its own weight. In the meantime we will have the reputation of being very pleasant gentlemen who are willing to go along." (70)

Hoover's revival of Super Power forced Pinchot and Cooke to draw a sharper distinction between Super Power and Giant Power so that the public would not confuse the two plans. These differences included technical, economic, and social considerations. As Cooke wrote Pinchot in October 1923, Giant Power included provisions for large power plants near coal mines, whereas Super Power did not. Giant Power called for coal byproduct recovery and for an integrated transmission and distribution system. Super Power did not stress byproduct recovery and provided only for interconnection between companies. (71) These complaints reflected a concern for the economic condition of Pennsylvania's coal industry. Pinchot thought that it would be wasteful to ship coal to power plants located on the coast when it could be burned in plants constructed near the mines. Giant Power would improve the market for coal. Pinchot also faulted Super Power for not including western Pennsylvania, an area that consumed two-thirds as much power as the entire Super Power region. (72)

On the surface, these differences reflected two technical positions on how an interconnected system should be created. If these had been the only differences, the proponents of the two plans would fit the currently defined model of corporate liberalism--two groups of public officials who accepted the need for planning but differed over technical details. The differences between Super Power and Giant Power however, rested on more fundamental grounds.

Cooke noted that Giant Power called for lower power rates and extension of rural service, and Super Power did not. Cooke was also concerned that Super Power would allow companies to integrate without government supervision. (73) The fear of an electric utility monopoly was the key to Pinchot and Cooke's opposition to Super Power. In July 1925 a Hoover associate took notes of a Pinchot speech on the power issue. In this speech, Pinchot noted that "special interests now run politics in America. If we do not control the electrical monopoly it will control us." Pinchot applied this concern to Super Power in a letter to Congress/ "Super Power is the name chosen by the electric magnates for their own set up of a nation-wide electric monopoly." (74)

Hoover, who followed these pronouncements closely, did not share this concern. As he told Norman Hapgood, the basic difference between the two plans involved engineering questions. "This inconnection [Super Power] bears no more relation to monopoly or financial relations than does the interchange of cars between railways." (75) By the time Hoover made this point, however, he was no longer actively promoting Super Power. The power industry was no more willing to endorse Super Power under Hoover's leadership than it was to accept Murray's plan or Giant Power.

A major premise of corporate liberalism is that, as engineers and other experts began to play a larger role in economic planning, planning became less a debate over ideological matters and more a process whereby groups of experts determined the best technical solutions to economic problems. The controversy between Cooke and Hoover, two prominent engineers in the interwar period, shows that engineers could argue just as energetically about nontechnical matters as they did over the merits of one technical plan over another.

Cooke and Hoover both believed that engineers had the capability to help solve economic problems, but, as Edwin Layton demonstrates in his study of the engineering profession, they disagreed over how engineers should play this role. Cooke believed that the engineer should stand at the front of a movement to reconstruct the industrial order. To fulfill this role the engineering profession needed to be reformed. Professional engineering societies would have to be made more democratic, and the ethics of the profession would have to include a high regard for the public interest. (76)

Cooke's vision of the engineer's role contrasted sharply with Hoover's vision. In Hoover's view, the engineer should aid in planning by pointing out what could and could not be accomplished, but the responsibility for implementing and controlling these plans should remain in the hands of political and business leaders. For Hoover, the engineer should be an ally of business, not an independent reformer. The differences between Cooke and Hoover were based on conflicting views of the industrial order. Hoover believed that the existing order and the values on which it was based did not need to be reformed. Cooke, troubled by recent developments in industrial organization, such as the formation of holding companies, wanted the engineering profession to act as a counterweight to private economic power.


In a recent commentary, John Lewis Gaddis criticized the use of corporatism in analyzing the development of of twentieth-century American foreign policy. Gaddis noted that diplomatic history, until recently, lacked historiographical vitality because it did not have a useful synthetic framework. Corporation seemed to offer such a framework and blcame so popular among diplomatic historians that it became, in Gaddis's words, "the historiographical equivalent of designer jeans. (77) Gaddis was concerned about the use of corporatism for several reasons. Corporatism ignored important ideological differences among business, government, and labor officials. Corporatism also ignored the role of ideas and values in foreign policy-making. Corporatism seemed to work well in periods noted for consensus, such as the 1920s and 1950s, but it did not work well in periods when there was serious disagreement over foreign policy, such as the late 1930s.

Gaddis's criticism of corporate liberalism as applied to diplomatic history holds true of corporate liberalism applied to studies of domestic economic planning, with one important exception. Corporate liberalism does not apply to the 1920s any more than it does for other, more contentious periods in the twentieth century.

The concept of corporate liberalism is useful, in some respects, for understanding the approach of Murray, Hoover, Pinchot, and Cooke to the electric power supply problem in the 1920s. They accepted the principle of industrial planning and believed that engineers and professionally trained experts should play a prominent role in the resolution of industrial problems. Corporate liberalism, however, is less useful for explaining the different motivations and conflicting goals of Super Power and Giant Power. Murray and Hoover were primarily concerned with the efficiency, stability, and growth of the utility industry. They wanted to create an interconnection plan without increasing government regulatory power over the industry and without altering its existing structure. Not only were they unconcerned about the development of utility holding companies, but, unlike Pinchot and Cooke, they seemed to accept them as an inevitable and natural part of industrial evolution.

Pinchot and Cooke acted liked corporate liberals in certain respects. They relied on the expertise of trained engineers to address the problems of the utility industry. But they also raised questions that had been of concern to traditional Progressive political leaders--the increasing power of large, private economic organizations and the social advancement of labor, farmers, and middle-class consumers. In short, they used corporate liberal techniques to address traditional Progressive goals. Pinchot and Cooke were primarily concerned about the social and political implications of interconnection. They designed Giant Power to check the influence of the industry by dividing electric utilities according to the functions of production, transmission, and distribution, and by providing for greater government supervision of the industry by a Giant Power Board. These different goals indicate that corporate liberals, despite similar approaches, could disagree fundamentally over political and economic objectives. The emergence of corporate liberal efforts to resolve industrial and economic problems in the 1920s did not result in ideological consensus. Rather, the issues and problems that had divided policymakers throughout the Progressive Era continued to influence policy-making in the 1920s.

(1) William S. Murray, A Super Power System for the Region between Boston and Washington, D.C., Dept. of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey, Professional Paper #123 (Washington, D.C., 1921) [hereafter cited as Murray, Super Power Report]; Morris L. Cooke, "The Long Look Ahead," Survey 51 (1 March 1924): 604. Throughout this paper the phrase "utility industry" refers to the electric utility industry in the Northeast, unless otherwise indicated.

(2) Ellis W. Hawley, "The Discovery and Study of a Corporate Liberalism," Business History Review 52 (Autumn 1978): 309-11. See also Kim McQuaid, "Corporate Liberalism in the American Business Community, 1920-1940," ibid.: 342-68; Louis Galambos, "Technology, Policital Economy, and Professionalization: Central Themes of the Organizational Synthesis, "ibis. 57 (Winter 1970): 471-93; and Larry C. Gerber, "Corporatism in Comparative Perspective: The Impact of the First World War on American and British Labor Relations," ibid. 62 (Spring 1988): 93-96.

(3) Gerber, "Corporatism in Comparative Perspective." Gerber cited three pluralist studies: Arthur F. Bentley, The Process of Government (Cambridge, Mass., 1967); David B. Truman, The Governmental Proces: Political Interests and Public Opinion (New York, 1971); and Robert A. Dahl, Pluralist Democracy in the United States: Conflict and Consent (Chicago, Ill., 1967).

(4) See Jerry Israel, ed., Building the Organizational Society: Essays on Associational Activities in Modern America (New York, 1972), particularly the introduction by Samuel P. Hays.

(5) Robert D. Cuff, The War Industries Board: Business-Government Relations During World War I (Baltimore, Md., 1973); McQuaid, "Corporated Liberalism in the American Business Community," 344-45.

(6) Thomas P. Hughes has written extensively on Super Power and Giant Power, particularly in Networks of Power: Electrification in Western Society, 1880-1930 (Baltimore, Md., 1983). Hughes has not, however, written about these plans within the context of corporate liberalism, nor has he studied Herbert Hoover's role in the promotion of Super Power.

(7) W. Bernard Carlson, "The Cultural Construction of Communications Technology: The Case of Edison and the Motion Picture," unpublished paper presented at the TeCH 88 Conference, Edinburgh, Scotland, 18-21 August 1988; quoted with permission of the author. See also Wiebe E. Bijker, et al., eds, The Social Construction of Technological Systems: New Directions in the Sociology and History of Technology (Cambridge, Mass., 1987), and H. M. Collins and T. J. Pinch, Frames of Meaning: The Social Construction of Extraordinary Science (Boston, Mass., 1982).

(8) Historical Statistics of the United States, Colonial Times to 1970 (Washington, D.C., 1975), part 2, Table S 120-132, 828; Table S 32-43, 820. See C. O. Roggles, "Problems in the Development of a Super-Power System," Harvard Business Review 2 (Jan. 1924): 160-73 for a general discussion of the development of the electric utility industry.

(9) Hughes, Networks of Power, 285-97. The War Industries Board and the U.S. Geological Survey conducted surveys to determine where power shortages were likely to occur and where power supplies could be pooled. The federal government ordered the construction of large-capacity power plants and ordered small groups of utilities to pool power resources.

(10) Murray, Superpower: Its Genesis and Future (New York, 1925), v; "William S. Murray," National Cyclopedia of American Biography, vol. E (New York, 1938) 402-3.

(11) Murray, Super Power Report; Interior Secretary John B. Payne to Warren G. Harding, 24 Feb. 1921, Central Classified File, Dept. of Interior, Office of the Secretary, File 1-49, Record Group 48, National Archives.

(12) Murray, Super Power Report, 14.

(13) Minutes of the Super Power Advisory Board, 1st Meeting, 24 Sept. 1920, 4, File 59A-158, Water Resources Division--Super Power Survey, Record Group 57, National Archives [hereafter cited as Super Power Minutes].

(14) Super Power Minutes, 1st Meeting, 24 Sept. 1920, 6.

(15) Super Power Minutes, 2d Meeting, 1 Dec. 1920, 5.

(16) Ibid, 9; 3d Meeting, 5 Jan. 1921, 7.

(17) Super Power Minutes, 2d Meeting, 8.

(18) Super Power Minutes, 4th Meeting, 18 Feb. 1921, 3.

(19) Super Power Minutes, 6th Meeting, 13 May 1921, 17.

(20) Super Power Minutes, 7th Meeting, 20 May 1921, 4, 9.

(21) Ibid., 12.

(22) Ibid., 23.

(23) Hughes, Networks of Power, 286.

(24) James C. Bonbright and Gardiner C. Means, The Holding Company: Its Public Significance and Its Regulation (New York, 1932); Hughes, Networks of Power, 391; Norman S. Buchanan, "The Origin and Development of the Public Utility Holding Company" Journal of Political Economy 44 (1936): 31-53.

(25) Hughes, Networks of Power, 395. See Sidney A. Mitchell, S. Z. Mitchell and the Electrical Industry (New York, 1960), for a discussion of Mitchell's role in the development of utility holding companies.

(26) Bayla Singer, "Power Politics," IEEE Technology and Society Magazine, Dec. 1988, 25. This company was a holding company and did not create a Super Power system.

(27) Broadus Mitchell, Dpression Decade: From New Era through New Deal, 1929-1941 (New York, 1947), 346.

(28) Cooke to Henry Stimson, 28 Jan. 1925, box 195; Cooke to Pinchot, 29 May 1924, box 36, Morris L. Cooke Papers, Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, Hyde Park, New York.

(29) For a discussion of this vision see Thomas P. Hughes, American Genesis: A Century of Invention and Technological Enthusiasm, 1870-1970 (New York, 1989), 303-5.

(30) James Penick, Jr., "Gifford Pinchot," Dictionary of American Biography, Supplement 4 (New York, 1974), 664; Samuel Hays, "Gifford Pinchot and the American Conservation Movement," in Technology in America: A History of Individuals and Ideas, ed. Carroll W. Purcell (Cambridge, Mass., 1981), 151-62.

(31) M. Nelson McGeary, Gifford Pinchot: Forester-Politician (Princeton, N.J., 1960), 99; Gifford Pinchot, Breaking New Ground (New York, 1947), 355-60.

(32) Pinchot, Breaking New Ground, 506.

(33) Martin L. Fausold, Gifford Pinchot--Bull Moose Progressive (Syracuse, N.Y., 1961), 22.

(34) Samuel Haber, Efficiency and Uplift: Scientific Management in the Progressive Era, 1890-1920 (Chicago, Ill., 1964), xii. Frederick W. Taylor, The Principle of Scientific Management (New York, 1967); Jean Christie, Morris L. Cooke: Progressive Engineer (New York, 1983), 7; Edwin T. Layton, Jr., The Revolt of the Engineers: Social Responsibility and the American Engineering Profession (Cleveland, Ohio, 1971), 158-59.

(35) Christie, Morris L. Cooke: Progressive Engineer, 23-42; Haber, Efficiency and Uplift, 108-9. Cooke discussed the Philadelphia Electric Company rate case in his pamphlet, Snapping Cords: Comments on the Changing Attitude of American Cities Toward the Utility Problem (privately printed, 1915), copy in box 229, Cooke Papers.

(36) Cooke to J. G. Glasso, 6 March 1918, box 209, Cooke Papers; Christie, Morris L. Cooke: Progressive Engineer, 36-37.

(37) Memorandum, Morris Cooke, 21 Nov. 1921, box 60, Cooke Papers; Bayla Singer, "Power to the People: The Pennsylvania-New Jersey-Maryland Interconnection, 1925-1970" (Ph.D. diss., University of Pennsylvania, 1983), 33-34.

(38) Christie, Morris L. Cooke: Progressive Engineer, 58.

(39) Murray to Cooke, 26 May 1922, box 60, Cooke Papers; William S. Murray, Goverment Owned and Controlled Compared with Privately Owned and Regulated Utilities in Canada and the U.S. (New York, 1922); Christie, Morris L. Cooke: Progressive Engineer, 58.

(40) Murray, Superpower: Its Genesis and Future, 3.

(41) Cooke to Murray, 1 June 1922, box 60; Cooke to Pinchot, 11 April 1924, box 36, Cooke Papers.

(42) Morris Cooke, "Ontario Hydro-Electric," New Republic, 21 June 1922, 103; Cooke to Murray, 1 June 1922, box 60, Cooke Papers. NELA, the trade organization of the utility industry, conducted a vigorous campaign in the 1920s to refute the connection of industry opponets that it was a monopoly.

(43) Jean Christie, "Giant Power: A Progressive Proposal of the Nineteen Twenties," Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 96 (Oct. 1972): 482-83.

(44) Cooke to Pinchot, 25 Oct. 1923, box 36, Cooke Papers; Thomas P. Hughes, "Technology and Public Policy: The Failure of Giant Power," Proceedings of the IEEE 64 (Sept. 1976): 1364-65.

(45) Hughes, "Technology and Public Policy," 1365.

(46) For a discussion of rural electrification and Giant Power see Morris Cooke, "The Early Days of the Rural Electrification Ideam 1914-1936," American Political Science Review 42 (June 1948): 431-47; Hughes, "Technology and Public Policy", 1368; Cooke to Herbert Hoover, 22 Nov. 1923, box 36, Cooke Papers.

(47) Memorandum, Morris Cooke, "While the level of rates charged . . .," c. 1927, box 35, Cooke Papers. See also Cooke, "What Price Electricity For Our Homes," 1928, box 229, Cooke Papers; and Cooke, "Quaint Electric Rates," National Municipal Review 19 (Nov. 1930): 3-7.

(48) Cooke to Pinchot, 9 Feb. 1925, box 188, Cooke Papers.

(49) Morris Cooke, et al., Report of the Gian Power Survey Board (Harrisburg, Pa., 1925), 15.

(50) Pinchot to Alvah J. Ricker, 15 Oct. 1927, box 35, Cooke Papers. The minutes of the Giant Power Survey Board are in box 191, Cooke Papers.

(51) Cooke to George Record, 26 March 1924, box 36, Cooke Papers.

(52) Cooke to Philip P. Wells, 24 Dec. 1924, box 39, Cooke Papers.

(53) George Silzer to Pinchot, 18 Jan. 1925, box 39, Cooke Papers.

(54) George Silzer to Pinchot, 30 Sept. 1925; Cooke to Philip P. Wells, 7 Oct. 1925, box 39, Cooke Papers.

(55) Hedley Cooke quoted in Christie, Morris L. Cooke: Progressive Engineer, 79; Hughes, "Technology and Public Policy," 1370.

(56) Cooke's views on the cooling tower issue are discussed in Cooke to William Crozier, 2 Dec. 1924, box 265, Cooke Papers, where Cooke noted that ". . . some of the largest stations abroad are now placed at the mines where there is no water, and where even in our own country and our own state stations larger than the average are now operating with only enough water to make up for evaporation."

(57) Memorandum, "Giant Power Bills," 14 Jan. 1926, container 2882, Gifford Pinchot Papers, Library of Congress.

(58) For a more detailed discussion of Giant Power technology see Hughes, Networks of Power, 312-13; and Hughes, "Technology and Public Policy," 1370.

(59) John Lathrop, "Secretary Hoover's Super Power Project Now Before the Cabinet is Work of Far Seeing Engineer," The World, 16 April 1922 (clipping); William Murray to Hoover, 19 April 1922, both in box 590, Herbert Hoover Commerce Papers, Herbert Hoover Library, West Branch, Iowa [hereafter cited as Hoover Papers].

(60) Hoover to Murray, 22 Aug. 1923, box 422; Hoover to Guy Tripp, chairman, Westinghouse Electric Co., 27 Aug. 1923, box 590, Hoover Papers.

(61) Ellis W. Hawley, "Herbert Hoover, the Commerce Secretariat and the Vision of an Associative State, 1921-1928," Journal of American History 61 (June 1974): 116-40.

(62) Morris Hundley, Jr., Water and the West: The Colorado River Compact and the Politics of Water in the American West (Berkeley, Calif., 1975); William Hard, "Giant Negotiations for Giant Power: An Interview with Herbert Hoover," Survey, 1 March 1924, 577-79; Hoover to Paul Harvey, 20 Feb. 1924, box 590, Hoover Papers; O. H. Blackman to Gifford Pinchot, 27 Oct. 1923, box 39, Cooke Papers. For assessments of Hoover as commerce secretary, see the essays in Herbert Hoover as Secretary of Commerce: Studies in New Era Thought and Practice, ed. Ellis W. Hawley (Iowa City, Iowa, 1981).

(63) Guy Tripp to Hoover, 1 Sept. 1923, box 590, Hoover Papers.

(64) Hoover to O. C. Merrill, Executive Secretary, Federal Power Commission, 10 Oct. 1923, box 162, Hoover Papers. Hoover invited Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Rhose Island, New Hampshire, Maine, Connecticut, New York, Vermont, Maryland, and New Jersey. Hoover to Cooke, 13 Dec. 1923, box 162, Hoover Papers.

(65) "Super Power Studies: Northeast Section of the United States," May 1924, and "Engineering Sub-Committee Report, Northeast Superpower Commission," 26 July 1924, both in box 590, Hoover Papers.

(66) Summary of Statement of Secretary Hoover to the Super Power Conference, New York, 13 Oct. 1923, box 162, Hoover Papers.

(67) Henry Stimson to Hoover, 13 Jan. 1925, box 590, Hoover Papers. Stimson told Hoover "Pinchot's people . . . are not as wild or visionary on this subject [interconnection] as you seem to fear."

(68) Cooke to Pinchot, 19 Oct. 1923, box 36, Cooke Papers.

(69) Cooke to Philip Wells, 16 Nov. 1923, container 1536, Pinchot Papers; New York Times, 8 Oct. 1923, 19.

(70) Cooke to Pinchot, 19 Oct. 1923; Cooke to Philip Wells, 16 Nov. 1923.

(71) Cooke to Pinchot, 25 Oct. 1923, box 36, Cooke Papers.

(72) Pinchot to Hoover, 22 Nov. 1923, contianer 1536, Pinchot Papers.

(73) Cooke to Pinchot, 25 Oct. 1923.

(74) Memorandum, "Pinchot," 20 July 1925, box 591, Hoover Papers. Pinchot's letter to Congress quoted in New York Times, 20 July 1925.

(75) Hoover to Norman Hapgood, 12 Nov. 1927, box 591, Hoover Papers.

(76) For a discussion of the differences between Cooke and Hoover see Layton, Revolt of the Engineers, chap. 8.

(77) John Lewis Gaddis, "The Corporatist Synthesis: A Skeptical View," Diplomatic History 10 (Fall 1986): 359. For a defense of the use of corporatism in diplomatic history see Michael J. Hogan, "Corporatism," Journal of American History 77 (June 1990): 153-60. Studies in diplomatic history that embrace corporatism include Thomas J. McCormick, "Drift or Mastery? A Corporatist Synthesis for American Diplomatic History," Reviews in American History 10 (Dec. 1982): 321-28; Joan Hoff Wilson, Ideology and Economics: U.S. Relations with the Soviet Union, 1918-1933 (Columbia, Mo., 1974); Michael J. Hogan, Informal Entente: The Private Structure of Cooperation in Anglo-American Economic Diplomacy, 1918-1928 (Columbia, Mo., 1977); and Melvyn P. Leffler, The Elusive Quest: America's Pursuit of European Stability and French Security, 1919-1933 (Chapel Hill, N.C., 1979).

LEONARD DeGRAAF is a doctoral candidate in history at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, and a graduate assistant at the Thomas A. Edison Papers.

I wish to thank Elliot A. Rosen, Dennis D. Madden, Greg Field, and Stephen Marshall for commenting on earlier versions of this paper.
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Date:Mar 22, 1990
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