To be fair, the first dystopian novel is widely considered to be "We", which wasn't published until 1921.(some 9 years after Dru) However, since the character of Philip Dru implements much of the progressive agenda to which they all generally favor, why on earth would it be considered dystopian today? (other than to mask the novel for what it really is)
Here is the view from 1917:
What goes on inside Col. House's head is a mystery to most people, but it should not be to those who have read the anonymous novel, "Philip Dru, Administrator," published by B. W. Huebsch, New York, in 1912. It is generally understood that this book was written by Col. House. The publisher gives publicity to the rumor, but does not deny it. Col. House has never said he didn't write the book. Mr. Huebsch sent me the volume the other day. It is a story of the future of the United States. It belongs to the class of prophetic romances of which the most famous in English is Sir Thomas More's "Utopia." Somewhat like Edward Bellamy's novel, "Looking Backward," it is even more like Frederick Upham Adams' novel, "President John Smith." But it is not a Socialist novel. "Philip Dru, Administrator," is just the kind of book in which a man must put his own ideas and ideals, for it is a projection of what he thinks his country should be and will be. From the story one may discover just what the author's political, economic and social purposes are. It is interesting to find out the purposes of a man who has such close relations with and, presumably, influence upon the President of the United States.
After pointing out how bad the book is, the author continues:
But what Philip and these others do and say gives us a good insight into the mind of their creator, who, to tell the truth, is more interested in ideas than in character. Those ideas must have great weight with the President of the United States or he would not so often consult in administrative crises the man who holds them.
Philip Dru was written as an utopian novel with an utopian outlook, it was considered utopian just a few short years after its publication, which means it is utopian today. But what is it about this novel that urges some to cast it as dystopian? There are four chapters in the book that span a brief civil war, to determine who will control the country. That's it. Four chapters out of fifty three. So all of those policy dreams and the accomplishments of progressivism in the other 49 chapters, you're supposed to ignore all of that.
We can even discuss those four chapters and also place those in the utopian category. Progressive ideologues have proven to be the biggest opportunists in modern history, why should anybody believe that if the progressives had a chance, and a civil war was all it would take for them to finally have what they wanted, that they wouldn't take it and be supportive of both the wartime and the after effects? The progressives will take what they can, whenever they can take it, however they can take it. The ends justify the means. THAT, we know for certain is a supreme guiding principle for anybody who believes in progressivism. Since the ends justify the means, that places even the civil war chapters of Dru in the utopian category.