That central feature is to end the absolute entitlement to welfare, to end the detailed Federal regulation of the way in which welfare policies are administered by the State . . . and to encourage--for that matter, to require--a wide range of experimentation in welfare policies among our 50 states. . . . In fact, in a relatively short period of time after the passage of this bill, we will have 50 distinct and different systems of welfare in the United States.
--Senator Slade Gorton (R-Wash.), Congressional Record, August 1, 1996
The great achievement of the New Deal was the broadening of American citizenship, through social and labor legislation, to more fully incorporate citizens as full members of the polity. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, in his call to further "the security of the citizen and his family," had advanced the idea that citizens should be endowed with some protection against the insecurities that could emerge in a modern, industrial economy.1 Policy officials in his administration concurred that a floor of social and labor standards, a minimum assurance of well-being, ought to be guaranteed. They fashioned policy on the premise that for people to be meaningfully included as free, equal, and potentially active members of the citizenry, political and civil rights should be complemented by social dimensions of citizenship.
To New Dealers, the development of expanded rights of citizenship was intrinsically connected to a vibrant, democratic polity. Frances Perkins and Sidney Hillman, in presenting the case for the Fair Labor Standards Act to Congress, argued that the proposed law represented the "hallmark of____________________