THE WELFARE EXPLOSION was but one recurrent shock that characterized the 1960s. The decade saw years of protest, years when heretofore unobtrusive groups rose up against what they judged to be endemic injustice in a capitalist democracy. They sought major reform across the entire social spectrum. Youth, women, blacks--usually separately, though at times together--demanded an end to racial and gender discrimination in politics, education, housing, and jobs. Above all, they demanded an end to the Vietnam War. No longer was it sufficient to write letters or telegraph Congress. Such long-tried means to reform changed as if overnight to mass demonstrations, some peaceful, others erupting into violence.
Other violence was criminal, as city streets became the scene of hold- ups, stabbings, and other assaults. A huge increase in the use of addictive drugs lay behind much of this crime. Introduction of the birth control pill in 1960 with its more reliable contraception encouraged freer sexual relationships. Still, there was a noticeable increase in venereal disease and in illegitimate births. Whether cause or consequence, welfare was not far behind.
Responding to the loss of farm jobs due to automation, 1.4 million blacks left the South for northern cities in the 1960s. The struggle of black