While I obviously haven’t read the book yet, I am sure Putnam’s book is about what Peter Turchin has described as “Age of Discord I” and how it ended in the Progressive Era. This happens to be the period of American history which I have been researching for the past few months.
It might seem odd that social capital was overall on the rebound during the Victorian-to-Modern transition, but a number of important things happened in this period that pulled the country together just as this new cultural rift between modernists and traditionalists was forming. Immigration was steadily restricted in 1907, 1917, 1921, 1924 and 1927. The 16th Amendment was passed which established the income tax which eventually led to wealth redistribution during the New Deal. The economy exploded in the Roaring Twenties and America developed a consumer economy. The Great Depression and World War II were massive challenges that had the effect of uniting the country and restoring confidence in government. In particular, the South and West began to industrialize during World War II and millions were lifted out of poverty. Finally, the federal government focused on the economy and foreign policy in the Great Depression and World War II instead of more polarizing racial and cultural issues.