Three Worlds of Relief: Race, Immigration, and the American Welfare State from the Progressive Era to the New Deal

Overview

"Three Worlds of Relief is theoretically important, empirically rich, and a major contribution to scholarship on race, immigration, and welfare policy. Fox brings together the experiences of Mexicans, white immigrants, and African Americans into a single account, in the process enriching current knowledge of each group's history in the United States and illuminating how these histories fed into government policy. Three Worlds of Relief is an outstanding work of scholarship. Fox traces the distinct paths of ...

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Three Worlds of Relief: Race, Immigration, and the American Welfare State from the Progressive Era to the New Deal

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Overview

"Three Worlds of Relief is theoretically important, empirically rich, and a major contribution to scholarship on race, immigration, and welfare policy. Fox brings together the experiences of Mexicans, white immigrants, and African Americans into a single account, in the process enriching current knowledge of each group's history in the United States and illuminating how these histories fed into government policy. Three Worlds of Relief is an outstanding work of scholarship. Fox traces the distinct paths of blacks, Mexicans, and white immigrants as they were incorporated into the American welfare state in the key decades culminating in the New Deal. Her argument is fresh and original, her research meticulous, and her prose elegant. Three Worlds of Relief is an intellectual tour de force that sets a new scholarly agenda"—Desmond King, author of Separate and Unequal: African Americans and the U.S. Federal Government

"Cybelle Fox's Three Worlds of Relief demonstrates that U.S. social policies in their formative years provided disparate treatment by race and ethnicity. Political, labor-market, and racial contexts advantaged European immigrants and disadvantaged African Americans and Mexican immigrants. This book is a must-read for anyone seeking to understand the origins of the uneven U.S. welfare state, its race and ethnic politics, and political dilemmas today."—Edwin Amenta, University of California, Irvine

"Three Worlds of Relief is an original study that significantly enhances our understanding of the historical boundaries of social citizenship in the United States. Cybelle Fox reveals how different political systems and race and labor market relations in three separate regions of the country resulted in profoundly dissimilar experiences for blacks, Mexicans, and European immigrants in the American welfare system. This insightful book is a must-read."—William Julius Wilson, Harvard University

"Three Worlds of Relief is a tour de force of historical analysis that presents a bold reinterpretation of U.S. welfare provision during the early decades of the twentieth century. I know of no work that offers a more compelling account of how poor relief in this era was shaped by the interplay of race, immigration, and political economy. Emphasizing regional differences across a decentralized system, Cybelle Fox challenges longstanding assumptions in U.S. welfare scholarship. Her study is a major contribution to the field."—Joe Soss, University of Minnesota

"Rigorously researched, clearly argued, and written with verve and style, Three Worlds of Relief is a pathbreaking study of the interplay of race, labor, and politics in the building of America's welfare state. Fox brings a fresh and important new perspective to the study of American political development that could not be more timely. This is an excellent book."—Robert C. Lieberman, author of Shaping Race Policy

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Editorial Reviews

Choice
Thoroughly researched and well written, the book enhances the literature on immigration and ethnicity.
Journal of Sociology & Social Welfare - Marguerite G. Rosenthal
Three Worlds of Relief covers new territory in social welfare history and will interest academics and students in the field. Of particular importance to the social work profession is the author's attention to the role that social workers played in advocating both for progressive legislation and practice, except in the West and Southwest.
From the Publisher
Winner of the 2012 C. Wright Mills Award, Society for the Study of Social Problems

Winner of the 2013 Thomas and Znaniecki Best Book Award, International Migration Section of the American Sociological Association

Winner of the 2013 Distinguished Book Award, Latina/o Sociology Section of the American Sociological Association

Co-Winner of the 2013 Distinguished Contribution to Scholarship Award, Political Sociology Section of the American Sociological Association

Winner of the 2012 Award for Best Book in Latino Politics, Latino Caucus of the American Political Science Association

"Thoroughly researched and well written, the book enhances the literature on immigration and ethnicity."—
Choice

"Three Worlds of Relief covers new territory in social welfare history and will interest academics and students in the field. Of particular importance to the social work profession is the author's attention to the role that social workers played in advocating both for progressive legislation and practice, except in the West and Southwest."—Marguerite G. Rosenthal, Journal of Sociology & Social Welfare

"Three Worlds of Relief reminds us that welfare policies must be measured by their implementation and effects as well as their intent. State and local authorities have the power to accentuate or to mute ethnic and racial biases in ways that undermine or enhance the mission of dispensing benefits impartially. Students, scholars, and practitioners concerned with the problem of inequality in the welfare state will find this book illuminating."—Lara Vapnek, Journal of Children and Poverty

"Fox's scholarship provides a detailed and rich portrait of how racism and race-based nativism, in conjunction with political and economic interests, shaped the design and implementation of U.S. welfare policies. . . . [T]his book is necessary reading for advanced scholars of U.S. social policy, welfare, poverty, and race and immigration and is highly recommended for graduate courses on these topics as well as historical and comparative methods."—Ellen Reese and Michael Walker, American Journal of Sociology

"Fox has set a scholarly agenda for a new social history of the American welfare state that will integrate the Southwest into a story largely about the Deep South and Northeast and that will bring Mexican immigrants into narratives told largely in black-and-white. Most importantly, this book and the work that will follow it has the potential to show how essential an active welfare state is to making immigration a driver of individual economic opportunity and national economic growth."—Jeffrey Helgeson, Southwestern Historical Quarterly

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Cybelle Fox is assistant professor of sociology at the University of California, Berkeley. She is the coauthor of "Rampage: The Social Roots of School Shootings."

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii
Abbreviations xi
Chapter 1: Race, Immigration, and the American Welfare State 1
Chapter 2: Three Worlds of Race, Labor, and Politics 19
Chapter 3: Three Worlds of Relief 52
Chapter 4: The Mexican Dependency Problem 73
Chapter 5: No Beggar Spirit 95
Chapter 6: Deporting the Unwelcome Visitors 124
Chapter 7: Repatriating the Unassimilable Aliens 156
Chapter 8: A Fair Deal or a Raw Deal? 188
Chapter 9: The WPA and the (Short-Lived) Triumph of Nativism 214
Chapter 10: A New Deal for the Alien 250
Chapter 11: The Boundaries of Social Citizenship 281
Abbreviations in the Notes 295
Notes 299
Index 371

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