Final Abstract for URS Program
The 1904 Saint Louis World’s Fair, known as the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, has long been known for its significant impact on America and the world. This research explores the intended purpose of the 1904 World’s Fair’s United States Government Building and its exhibits of the War and Navy Departments. Furthermore, this analysis investigates the visitor experience of the Government Building’s characteristics and exhibits. During the Progressive Era, American society was undergoing a significant paradigm shift through countless evolutions in industry, technology, and culture, and this research contextualizes historical study of the time. Though the recent body of literature revolves around analyzing the impact of the anthropological exhibits at the fair, an inquiry into the Government Building and its impact on visitors reveals important aspects of the fair, American society, and the U.S. Government during this transformative period. By investigating official documents, newspaper articles, diaries, and photographs, this research reveals that those in charge of the construction of the building and its displays were used as a showcase of American superiority and military might. This conclusion is furthered to discover that visitors generally accepted the impositions of the building and its exhibits, thus strengthening fond American sentiment regarding superiority and dominance.