Current Push to End Welfare Not the First, Historian Says

By Victor Volland Of The Post-Dispatch | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), August 18, 1996 | Go to article overview

Current Push to End Welfare Not the First, Historian Says


Victor Volland Of The Post-Dispatch, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


Historians take the long view on things. James T. Patterson, keynoter at a conference on private charity and public welfare that ended Saturday at St. Louis University, drew some striking parallels between early 19th-century England and late 20th-century America in movements to roll back welfare relief for the poor.

Attitudes and laws in both countries have tended to stigmatize the poor and "blame the victim," he said.

The current push by most Republicans and many Democrats, including President Bill Clinton, to "end welfare as we know it" has its counterpart in English Parliament's Act of 1834, said Patterson, who teaches American history at Brown University in Providence, R.I. His book "Grand Expectations: The U.S. 1945-74," published this year, deals with many of the issues of the present welfare reform debate.

Patterson spoke Thursday to about 60 historians and social scientists gathered for the three-day meeting.

The 1834 act, Patterson said, amended the generous Elizabethan poor laws by cutting back cash relief for the "unworthy" poor and forcing them into the workhouses and almshouses familiar to readers of Charles Dickens. The rationale was economic: to induce the spongers to look for work and thereby cut the costs of public relief.

But social and moral fears in both eras probably have been more important than economic ones, Patterson said. Welfare rollback would restore the work ethic and personal morality, it was argued - then and now. The reform coalition in the 1820s and '30s included many evangelicals who worried about the morals of the poor and grew alarmed that women were moving into the new industrial work, damaging family life.

"In our own times, concerns about the `traditional' family have darkened the mood of rollback," Patterson observed. "Here, too, religious ideas have figured prominently in debates. In both eras, morally concerned people insisted that the poor must somehow be induced to behave in proper fashion. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

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.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Current Push to End Welfare Not the First, Historian Says
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

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?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    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.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.