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- DescriptionEven as unemployment rates soared during the Great Depression, FDR's relief and social security programs faced attacks in Congress and the courts on the legitimacy of federal aid to the growing population of poor. In response, New Dealers pointed to a long tradition - dating back to 1790 and w largely forgotten - of federal aid to victims of disaster. In The Sympathetic State , Michele Landis Dauber recovers this crucial aspect of American history, tracing the roots of the modern American welfare state beyond the New Deal and the Progressive Era back to the earliest days of the republic when relief was forthcoming for the victims of wars, fires, floods, hurricanes, and earthquakes. Drawing on a variety of materials, including newspapers, legal briefs, political speeches, art and literature of the time, and letters from thousands of ordinary Americans, Dauber shows that while this long history of government disaster relief has faded from our memory today, it was extremely well-kwn to advocates of an expanded role for the national government in the 1930s. Making this connection required framing the Great Depression as a disaster afflicting citizens through fault of their own. Dauber argues that the disaster paradigm, though successful in defending the New Deal, would ultimately come back to haunt advocates for social welfare. By t making a more radical case for relief, proponents of the New Deal helped create the weak, uniquely American welfare state we have today - one torn between the desire to come to the aid of those suffering and the deeply rooted suspicion that those in need are responsible for their own deprivation. Contrary to conventional thought, the history of federal disaster relief is one of remarkable consistency, despite significant political and ideological change. Dauber's pathbreaking and highly readable book uncovers the historical origins of the modern American welfare state.
- Author BiographyMichele Landis Dauber is professor of law and (by courtesy) sociology, as well as the Bernard D. Bergreen Faculty Scholar at Stanford University.
- Author(s)Michele Landis Dauber
- PublisherThe University of Chicago Press
- Date of Publication04/01/2013
- SubjectRegional History
- Place of PublicationChicago, IL
- Country of PublicationUnited States
- ImprintUniversity of Chicago Press
- Content Note23 halftones, 1 line drawing, 13 tables
- Weight499 g
- Width152 mm
- Height229 mm
- Spine25 mm
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