The American Welfare System: Origins, Structure, and Effects

By Howard Gensler | Go to book overview

7
Farm Labor and "City-Centered" Child Welfare

John Drew

It is a pretty rough country. School is kept during the months when there is nothing to do in the fields. We let them go in planting time and cultivating time and picking time, and there are short terms in January and in July and August when there is not work to be done. . . . I admit that is not ideal, but then there is a saying down here that ignorance and cotton naturally go together.

-- Texas farmer, 1908484


7.1 The Puzzle of the "Early Enactors"

A large number of southern states were early enactors of mothers' pension laws despite their high levels of child labor. Such evidence appears to contradict a child labor explanation, since in a state such as Tennessee a child labor rate of 23 percent in 1910 did not prevent its legislature from adopting a mothers' pension law in 1915. The explanation for this puzzle lies in the character of the mothers' pension programs that arose in early- enacting southern states such as Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. These states repeated the pattern seen in Missouri and Maryland of providing pensions limited to a few major cities. This pattern even appeared in the late-enacting state of Kentucky, where the 1928 mothers' pension law applied only to the city of Louisville.

This pattern of city-centered mothers' pensions will be explained herein by making reference to the greater efforts southern cities made to enforce child labor and compulsory attendance laws. We will argue that the South's

-155-

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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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