Welfare in the United States

Welfare in the USWelfare has been central to a number of significant political debates in modern America:

  • What role should the government play in alleviating poverty?
  • What does a government owe its citizens, and who is entitled to help?
  • How have race and gender shaped economic opportunities and outcomes?
  • How should Americans respond to increasing rates of single parenthood?
  • How have poor women sought to shape their own lives and influence government policies?

With a comprehensive introduction and a well-chosen collection of primary documents, Welfare in the United States chronicles the major turning points in the seventy-year history of Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC). Illuminating policy debates, shifting demographics, institutional change, and the impact of social movements, this book serves as an essential guide to the history of the nation’s most controversial welfare program.

Praise for Welfare in the United States:  A History With Documents, 1935-1996

“With wide ranging perspectives, nearly century-long coverage, and choice documents, this short but powerful collection shows why welfare remains one of the most contentious issues in public policy. Three cheers for Nadasen, Mittelstadt, and
Chappell for this stimulating- and provocative – introduction that highlights the significance of race and gender in women’s lives.”

—Eileen Boris, author or The New Women’s Labor History

“The story of contemporary welfare policy in the United States is complicated and deeply troubled by poisonous conflicts over race, class and gender.  Here, however, we have a telling of the story that is admirably clear and concise, and enlivened by the inclusion of the documents that mark and illuminate the turning points in the story.  This will be an excellent teaching resource.”

—Frances Fox Piven, author of Challenging Authority: How Ordinary People Change America