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Social Welfare: A History of the American Response to Need, 8th Edition

By Mark J. Stern, June Axinn

Published by Pearson

Published Date: Jul 1, 2011

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Seeing social work and social welfare through a historical lens


This book is part of the Connecting Core Competencies Series. This series helps students understand and master CSWE’s core competencies with a variety of pedagogy highlighted competency content and critical thinking questions for the competencies throughout.


Social Welfare: A History of the American Response to Need allows students to place current issues of social concern in their historical context.


Numerous original documents help students understand the impact of history on current social welfare issues.The book examines the history of social work and social welfare in the United States since the 18th century.  It shows how social conditions, ideas about dependency and poverty, and institutions have shaped social policy and the efforts of voluntary organizations and individuals who work with at-risk populations.


Coverage of economic developments, the impact of volunteerism, and the impact of privatization in Social Welfare: A History of the American Response to Need helps students understand the context of social welfare movements and policies. By examining forces of social change and continuity, the text helps students see contemporary topics like health care reform, welfare, and homelessness through a historical framework.


Teaching & Learning Experience

  • Improve Critical Thinking — Analysis of current issues requires students to think critically about historical influences.
  • Engage Students — Numerous original documents help to engage students and Ccontemporary and cutting-edge information on health care and LGBT rights keep readers interested.
  • Explore Current Issues — The text incorporates important topics of today, such as poverty, inequality, race, and gender.
  • Apply CSWE Core Competencies — Integrates the 2008 CSWE EPAS throughout — highlights competencies and practice behaviors and includes expensive pedagogy. The textintegrates the 2008 CSWE EPAS, with critical thinking questions and practice tests to assess student understanding and development of competency.
  • Support Instructors — An Instructor’s Manual and Test Bank, Computerized Test Bank (MyTest), BlackBoard Test Item File, and PowerPoint presentations are included in the outstanding supplements package.

Table of Contents







Chapter 1: Introduction

Chapter 2: The Colonial Period: 1647—1776

Chapter 3: The Pre-Civil War Period: 1777—1860

Chapter 4: The Civil War and After: 1860—1900 

Chapter 5: Progress and Reform: 1900—1930

Chapter 6: The Depression and the New Deal: 1930—1940

Chapter 7: War and Prosperity: 1940—1968

Chapter 8: Conservative Resurgence and Social Change: 1968—1992

Chapter 9: Social Welfare and the Information Society: 1992—2011






Chapter 1: Introduction

DOCUMENT: Introduction

An Act for the Relief of the Poor, 43 Elizabeth, 1601


Chapter 2: The Colonial Period: 1647–1776

The Poor Laws in the Colonies

Conquest, Expansion, and Population Growth: Native Americans, Immigration, and Slavery

Challenge to the Poor Laws

Veterans: A Special Class

DOCUMENTS: The Colonial Period

An Act of Supplement to the Acts Referring to the Poor Massachusetts Bay, 1692

The Binding of Moses Love (1747).


Chapter 3: The Pre-Civil War Period: 1777–1860

Labor and Economic Security

The Reform Movements

Institutions, Almshouses, and Paupers

Child Saving

Retreat from the Almshouse

DOCUMENTS: The Pre-Civil War Period

The First Annual Report of the Society for the Prevention of Pauperism in New York City (1816)

The Constitution and By-Laws of the Female Orphan Asylum of Portland, Maine (1828)

President Franklin Pierce’s Veto of the Ten-Million Acre Bill(1854)


Chapter 4: The Civil War and After: 1860–1900

Population Changes

Naturalization and Citizenship

Regional Shifts

The Welfare of Soldiers and Veterans

Social Welfare: The Rural South

Social Welfare: Urban Problems

The Charity Organization Movement

The Social Welfare of Women

A New View of Child Welfare

The Aging: The Group That Was Left Behind

The Settlement House Movement


DOCUMENTS: The Civil War and After

State of New York’s Act to Provide for the Relief of Indigent Soldiers, Sailors and Marines, and the Families of Deceased Military Personnel (1887)

Josephine Shaw Lowell, “The Economic and Moral Effects of Public Outdoor Relief”, Proceedings,  National Conference of Charities and Corrections (1890)

Act to Prohibit the Coming of Chinese Laborers to the United States (September 1888) and Supplement (October 1888)


Chapter 5: Progress and Reform: 1900–1930

Poverty and the Working Class

Coalitions for Reform

Social Reform: Working Conditions

Social Reform: Women, Work, and Suffrage

Social Reform: Income Security

Social Reform: Family Welfare

Social Work and the Black Population

The End of Reform

The Social Welfare of Veterans

The Professionalization of Social Work

DOCUMENTS: Progress and Reform

Florence Kelley “The Family and the Woman’s Wage” (1909)

Funds to Parents Act, Illinois (1911)

“Public Pensions to Widows” Proceedings, NCCC (1912)


Chapter 6: The Depression and the New Deal: 1930–1940


The Hoover Response to Crisis

FDR and the New Deal

Labor and Social Welfare

Veterans and the Bonus

Public Money for Relief

Federal Emergency Relief Administration

The Social Security Act

The Eclipse of Reform

Family Life and Social Workers

New Alignments in Social Welfare


DOCUMENTS: The Depression and the New Deal

Monthly Reports of the Federal Emergency Relief Administration (1933)

Social Security Act (1935)


Chapter 7: War and Prosperity: 1940–1968

Population Shifts

Technology, Productivity, and Economic Insecurity

World War II

Postwar Optimism

The Attack on Public Welfare

Poverty and the Reform of Welfare

The War on Poverty

Expanded Benefits for the Aging

Controlling Public Assistance

Civil Rights and Juvenile Justice

DOCUMENTS: War and Prosperity

President Kennedy’s Message on the Public Welfare Program (1962),

Economic Opportunity Act (1964),

U. S. Supreme Court, In re Gault (1967).


Chapter 8: Conservative Resurgence and Social Change: 1968–1992 

Changing Employment Patterns

The Changing Family

Poverty and Income Distribution

The Expansion of Civil Rights

Expenditures for Social Welfare

Challenging the Welfare State

Welfare Reform

Child Welfare and the Aging

The Unemployed




DOCUMENTS: Conservative Resurgence and Social Change

President Richard M. Nixon’s Message on Reform in Welfare (1969)

Standard of Review For Termination of Disability Benefits (1984)


Chapter 9: Social Welfare and the Information Society: 1992–2011

The Economy: Productivity, Growth, and Employment


Changes in Family Composition

Population Shifts

The Fall and Rise of Health Care Reform

Addressing Poverty and Dependency: The Scope of Welfare Reform

Welfare Reform and “Immigration Control”

The Return to Voluntarism and the Rise of Privatization

The Continuing Civil Rights Battle

The Great Lockup


DOCUMENTS: Social Welfare and the Information Society

Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (1996)

State of California,  Proposition 187, Illegal Aliens—Public Services, Verification, and Reporting (1994)

U. S. Supreme Court Lawrence v. Texas (2003)

Purchase Info

ISBN-10: 0-205-00191-2

ISBN-13: 978-0-205-00191-0

Format: Book

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