The rise of voluntary associations in the late nineteenth century has received significant scholarly attention over the last few decades. Some studies argue that modernization facilitates group formation, but other analyses (e.g., Crowley and Skocpol 2001; Gamm and Putnam 1999) find little support for the argument that modernization caused group formation. Here, we extend this debate to the study of the strength of state-level, voluntary associations with clear political objectives. Using state-level dues paid to national organizations as a measure of group strength, we find evidence that more modernized states typically had the strongest state-level organizations in the 1880s and 1890s. These empirical findings lend support to the modernization thesis but also suggest that group formation and strength may be explained by different processes.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Social Sciences (miscellaneous)