The American Welfare System: Origins, Structure, and Effects

By Howard Gensler | Go to book overview

county. Maryland, in fact, did not adopt a statewide mothers' pension law until 1929. 529 In 1931, 74 percent of all expenditures in the state for mothers' pensions still went to the city of Baltimore. In Virginia in 1931, only 3 administrative units out of 24 independent cities and 100 counties provided mothers' pensions, including Richmond (Henrico County), which accounted for 47 percent of pension expenditures.

Elsewhere in the nation, substantial expenditures in non-urban settings were more common. In Nebraska, for example, pensions were provided in 88 percent of the administrative units, and the city of Omaha (Douglas County) accounted for only 24 percent of expenditures. In general, however, in the North and West -- where coverage was greater -- cities over 100,000 took in a lower percentage of total statewide expenditures: 47 percent in the West and 47 percent in the North. This compared to an average of 64 percent for the South.

Outside the South, this pattern reappeared in Missouri, which passed the first "city-centered" mothers' pension law. This "city-centered" law reflected the fact that Missouri's original child labor laws had population restrictions that limited their application to the largest cities in the state. As was the case in the South, these early limitations affected the latter mothers' pension programs, so that in 1931 Missouri offered coverage in only 11 out of 114 counties and most of the funds were spent in Kansas City and St. Louis. These two cities alone had 89 percent of the expenditures for mothers' pensions in the state.

Thus, the legacy of child labor on southern farms was evident in low levels of program uniformity and in a tendency to confine mothers' pensions to urban jurisdictions. While early-enacting southern states brought in mothers' pension programs despite high levels of child labor, these programs were distorted by the continued existence of child labor. More so than in the North, the southern states that adopted mothers' pension programs tended to confine them to city jurisdictions. More complete coverage, it would appear, had to wait until federal legislation broadened the coverage of child labor and compulsory attendance laws.


NOTES
484.
Quoted in Edward T. Devine, "The New View of the Child," in Proc. Fourth ACCL ( New York: NCLC, 1908), p. 4.
485.
Charles E. Gibbons, "Rural Life," in National Child Labor Committee, Child Welfare in Tennessee ( Nashville: NCLC, 1920), p. 319.
488.
Robert Hunter, Poverty ( New York: Macmillan Company, 1907), p. 225.

-168-

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The American Welfare System: Origins, Structure, and Effects
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface ix
  • I - The Origins of the American Welfare System 1
  • 1 - The Child and the American Welfare State 3
  • Notes 18
  • 2 - The New View of the Child 23
  • Notes 48
  • 3 - Progressive Priorities 55
  • Notes 69
  • 4 - Child Labor and the Mothers' Pension Movement 73
  • Notes 91
  • 5 - The Democratization of Outdoor Relief 97
  • Notes 120
  • 6 - Child Labor and Southern Patriotism 125
  • Notes 150
  • 7 - Farm Labor and "City-Centered" Child Welfare 155
  • Notes 168
  • 8 - The Case of Mothers' Pensions in Memphis 171
  • Notes 185
  • 9 - The Child and the State 189
  • Notes 194
  • II - The Structure and Effects of Welfare 197
  • 10 - The Structure of the American Welfare System 199
  • Notes 215
  • 11 - Behavioral Effects from Welfare 219
  • Notes 226
  • 12 - Reform 231
  • Notes 235
  • 13 - Welfare Policy: Point and Counterpoint 237
  • Notes 266
  • Bibliography 273
  • Index 289
  • About the Editor and Contributors 295
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