The State of American History

By Herbert J. Bass | Go to book overview
Save to active project

The State of Social Welfare History


Social welfare history is one of the newer areas of historical specialization. The subject, of course, is not new; it has a long history and a sizable literature. The only thing new about social welfare history is the professional historian's interest in it. In this respect it is like urban history, black history, medical history, business history, educational history, the history of science and technology, and the history of the family and children. In all of these areas historians are moving into fields which used to be considered the domains of other disciplines. In the case of social welfare history the writers were, until quite recently, social workers, sociologists, and economists. The growth of the professional historian's interest in such areas mirrors the concerns of our times. It also reflects the expansion of historical consciousness in the twentieth century. While each of us as individuals may be more and more specialized in our interests and competence, history as a whole has never been more comprehensive than today.

Our first problem is to define the boundaries of social welfare history. How inclusive or how restricted is its territory? What does it cover? What is its content? The broadest definition I know was advanced by William Graham Sumner in an essay entitled "Sociology" written in 1881. Sumner objected that social welfare was always treated as a novel issue. "In truth," Sumner declared, "the human race has never done anything else but struggle with the problem of social welfare. That struggle constitutes history, or the life of the human race on earth." But then Sumner went on to assert: "The only two things


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The State of American History


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 432

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?