Historical Resume of Public Welfare In the United States

By William B. Tollen

Jewish Communal Service Association of North America (JCSA), National Conference of Jewish Communal Service, Summer 1964

The author outlines the history of public welfare in the United States, which he describes as a conflict between two opposing views of human character and the motivations for human behavior. The first view sees as the poor as innately inferior to the higher classes; the second view levels the fault at a society which has failed to provide a cultural and economic environment where the poor can step out of their poverty. In outlining this history, the author does not offer a simple forward-moving development, as comforting as that might be. He states that "though man may never enjoy the complacency of achievement of an unattainable goal"a human society free of poverty and distress, where competition does not destroy cooperation, he can at least construct for himself a goal that is approachable." The purpose of a history is to mark the advances toward and retreats from such a goal. After three centuries of poor relief, charities, corrections, and public welfare in our national history, we seem to be on the threshold of discovery and application of a still higher degree: To provide work and opportunity for all who lack them, simultaneously reorganizing our social structure so that their children may be motivated to the independence and self-reliance denied their parents.

Topic: History, Communal Responsibility, Social Services, Poverty, Welfare, Public Policy

Name of Publication: Journal of Jewish Communal Service

Editor: Sherman, Sanford N.

Volume/Issue: Vol. 40/No. 4

Page Number(s): 355-364

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Genre: Article

Coverage: United States

Language: English

Copyright Holder: Publisher

Copyright Information: Download for personal use, freely distribute link

Bibliographic Information:
Tollen, William B. Historical Resume of Public Welfare In the United States. Journal of Jewish Communal Service. Jewish Communal Service Association of North America (JCSA),National Conference of Jewish Communal Service. Summer 1964: 355-364. http://www.bjpa.org/Publications/details.cfm?PublicationID=5385


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