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Unformatted text preview: American Politics and Social Welfare Policy 10.11-10.18 Is U.S. behind? In areas of pensions and child welfare, yes; but look to veterans benefits and the U.S. is not behind Pension reform policy fails in Progressive era Still, there is success for child welfare policy in Progressive era Women benefited greatly from child welfare benefits, yet most couldn’t vote in early 20 th century! Advocates for child welfare legislation are similar to those for pensions:- labor (AFL), American Association for Labor Legislation, etc. for instance- however, unlike pension reformers, child welfare advocates include federated organizations o organizations built like national government o consist of local chapters, for instance o primarily organizations of middle-class women, sometimes college educated; often, these women were the wives of middle-class professionals o women who were prominent in settlement house movement were also prominent in child welfare movement - These groups advanced ideal about ‘family life’ and what the role of motherhood was – this was central to the movement - Rhetoric concerning importance of the mother becomes more prominent; mothers are elevated to public status – they have a public role to play in rearing children o ‘we should honor mothers for their service to the nation’ o Logic that made veterans benefits possible now helps advance child welfare in the name of the ‘mother’ Child welfare advocates’ agenda is largely a success- one key item in agenda that failed was attempt to curb child labor o Wicks Act (1916): outlawed child labor under interstate commerce Struck down by Supreme Court No further child labor legislation would be presented until New Deal- Success: Children’s Bureau (1912) studies maternal child welfare issues, child labor, and other issues that had not previously received government attention - Education: part of agenda was to make free public education compulsory o This was supported partly due to expectation that education was necessary for economic success o Compulsory education is also a backdoor way of banning child labor - Major national achievement concerned health o Sheppard-Towner Act (1921 – right after women’s suffrage!) Dealt with infant health and child mortality Act provided federal money for maternal/child health care clinics to care for pregnant women and provide medical services for young children (advice on preventing disease, etc. also included) These clinics were established all over the country and were staffed largely by women (nurses, midwives, etc.) o Sheppard-Towner was relatively short lived American Medical Association argued that these clinics threatened autonomy of doctors - Other major state accomplishment was Mother’s Pensions o System of indoor cash relief given to women with children o 1911-1928: almost every state adopted some form of Mother’s Pensions o Culmination of “child saving movement,” which sought to dismiss idea of breaking up families to save children...
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This note was uploaded on 04/08/2008 for the course POLS American P taught by Professor Lieberman during the Spring '08 term at Columbia.
- Spring '08
- American Politics