CHAPTER I
HISTORICAL EVOLUTION

As was stated in the general introduction, Part I is to be basically descriptive. It will deal first with those programs for relief and social security that are currently in operation in the United States and then with certain other programs, now abolished, that were developed to meet the difficulties of the thirties.

Each chapter dealing with a specific program will not only describe it in some detail but will give briefly its history. It seems desirable, however, to outline the evolution of relief and social security in the United States. In a sense the evolutionary history is part of the history of every specific program. It is given here to furnish a background for consideration of all the programs.1


EARLY DEVELOPMENTS

The present programs have evolved over the years. They do not represent the result of a thorough, comprehensive study of all the problems involved in relief and social security but rather an attack on one part at a time. Not infrequently a particular part has received extensive study resulting in the modernization of that part, but often this work has been done with almost no reference to the remainder. If one looks at the structure as a whole, one sees essential parts dating back to Elizabethan England, functioning along side other parts designed by the advanced thinkers of the United States of the 1930's. Conflicting theories of government underlie the different parts, ranging from the local autonomy and responsibility of the early days to the powerful, highly centralized, national government of the current period.

English settlers in the American colonies brought with them the Elizabethan concept that giving public relief to those who could not support themselves, or secure support from relatives,

____________________
1
Footnote references to the statutes and to most other sources will be omitted in this chapter. They will be found in the chapters relating to specific programs.

-7-

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