Welfare Reform in the Early Republic: A Brief History with Documents (The Bedford Series in History and Culture) / Edition 1

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2002 Trade paperback Annotated. New. Trade paperback (US). Glued binding. 187 p. Contains: Illustrations. Bedford Series in History & Culture (Paperback). Audience: ... General/trade. Brand new book. Read more Show Less

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In the decades following the American Revolution, elected officials, moral crusaders, and relief administrators scrutinized the public welfare programs that assisted thousands of impoverished people. Seth Rockman uses documents ranging from sermons to almshouse admission rolls to show how reformers investigated the causes of poverty and pursued solutions that ranged from massive institutionalization of the poor to the total abolition of public charity — issues that are remarkably similar to the welfare debates of today. Also included are headnotes to the documents, questions for consideration, an annotated chronology, suggestions for further reading, and an index.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312398217
  • Publisher: Bedford/St. Martin's
  • Publication date: 10/28/2002
  • Series: Bedford Cultural Editions Series
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 187
  • Product dimensions: 5.42 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.32 (d)

Meet the Author

Seth Rockman (Ph.D., University of California, Davis) is an assistant professor of history at Occidental College in Los Angeles. He recently served as the advanced research fellow of the Program in Early American Economy and Society at the Library Company of Philadelphia. His scholarship focuses on capitalism, slavery, and labor in the early Republic United States, and his book-length study of wage workers in Baltimore will appear in 2004. He has published articles on women's labor and capital punishment in the early, 19th century, and writes for the History News Service.

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Table of Contents



List of Illustrations


Introduction: Poverty "in a Land Flowing with Milk and Honey"

Poor Relief in Early America

The Growing Problem of Poverty and Its Victims

Religious Reform and Moral Benevolence

Public Responsibility for the Poor

Structural Solutions for Poverty

The Legacy of Welfare Reform

A Note about the Text


The Documents
Elite Perceptions of Poverty as a Moral and Social Crisis
1. The Pennsylvania Society for the Promotion of Public Economy, 1817
2. The New York Society for the Prevention of Pauperism, 1818
3. Heman Humphrey, On Doing Good to the Poor, 1818
4. Joseph Tuckerman, Of Intellectually and Morally Neglected Children, c. 1828

Private Benevolence and Moral Cures for Poverty
5. The Friendly Society of St. Thomas's African Church, 1797
6. The Providence Female Society for the Relief of Indigent Women and Children, 1801
7. The Female Humane Association Charity School, 1803
8. Ezra Stiles Ely, Preacher to the Poor in New York, 1811
9. The Boston Society for the Moral and Religious Instruction of the Poor, 1819
10. Subjects of the New York House of Refuge, 1825-1830
11. Letter to Graduates of the House of Refuge, 1829
12. Subjects of the New York Colored Orphan Asylum, 1837–1838

Public Institutions
13. Rules for the Government of the New York Almshouse, 1801
14. Rules and Regulations of the Salem Almshouse, 1816
15. The Boston House of Industry, 1821
16. Inmates of the Baltimore Almshouse, June 1825
17. Report of the Trustees of the Baltimore Almshouse, 1827
18. Philadelphia Board of Guardians of the Poor, 1827

Structural Explanations and Cures for Poverty
19. Petition of New Jersey Working Widows to the U.S. Senate, 1816
20. The Working People of New-Castle County, Delaware, 1829
21. Thomas Skidmore, Rights of Man to Property, 1829
22. Frances Wright, Lecture on Existing Evils and Their Remedy, 1829
23. Mathew Carey, Address to the Wealthy of the Land, 1831
24. The Manayunk Working People's Committee, 1833
25. Philadelphia National Laborer, On Wage Slavery, 1836


A Chronology of Welfare Reform (1788-1840)

Questions for Consideration

Selected Bibliography


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