Social Welfare History in America


The establishment of the social welfare system in the United States of America was one of the most critical undertakings. The institution of social welfare dates back to a few centuries ago when Queen Elizabeth introduced it in the 15th century. The true “definition and perspective of looking at social welfare has undergone a profound evolution” (David, 2014, p. 2813). Many scholars have come up with new and better ways of defining this term.

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In the 1900s, social welfare was characterized by different undertakings, policies, and activities. Such activities made it easier to solve different social problems. In the 1950s, new authors and scholars started viewing social welfare as a more broad and enduring element that could address many social problems. Eventually, scholars started viewing social welfare as an existence of the right order in the society whereby people relate peacefully to enable human habitation and development. It is agreeable that such definitions have played a crucial role in the study of social welfare.

Social Welfare in America

Social welfare has been a common practice in the world. This institution that dates back several centuries ago and it has remained operational ever since. The first instance “of social welfare occurred in 1601 when Queen Elizabeth formulated the Poor Law in England” (Stritt, 2014, p. 91). The above law encouraged the government to collect taxes from different people. The English Law became one of the best examples of social welfare. The first social welfare action “became a reality in the 1900s when the American government sought to protect and uphold the social interest of its people” (Stritt, 2014, p. 89).

During this period, local authorities and institutions joined hands to provide charitable assistance to every poor citizen. This undertaking led to the idea of “public relief”. Industrialization and urbanization increased the number of poor people in America. The government and other agencies were unable to offer the required assistance.

Over 40 states had implemented the social welfare initiatives by 1926” (Jacobs, 2013, p. 143). In some states, the elderly were offered financial support. After the Great Depression, the government bailed out the local authorities by enacting the Emergency Relief and Construction Act. This law encouraged different governments to offer the best social support. This move led to the establishment of a reliable system.

Social welfare was set up with the view of solving a myriad of problems. Social welfare was necessary towards helping the needy and the poor in every society. The primary “goal when instituting social welfare was the provision of basic needs to the unemployed men in the society” (Gilbert, 2014, p. 603). Social welfare also supported the needs of the disabled and other unfortunate members of the society. In 1935, the enactment of the Social Security Act produced the best living conditions (Gilbert, 2014). In addition, social welfare was meant to rebuild the core values of the American people.

For instance, the people embraced various social practices and community programs in order to improve their living conditions. Consequently, the establishment of “social welfare was necessary because it helped the poor, the needy, and the youth in the society” (Gilbert, 2014, p. 603). New laws emerged to support every elderly person in the society. New educational programs emerged in order to educate more children from every marginalized racial group.

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Various entities and organizations helped to set up the social welfare program in the United States of America. The local government played a critical role in the implementation of this program. In addition, the local governments implemented different programs in order to support more people. These organizations provided financial support to different local governments (Stritt, 2014). The involvement of President Herbert Hoover was crucial to the establishment of social welfare in the country.

He also implemented the Emergency Relief and Construction Act in 1932. Furthermore, President Franklin Roosevelt implemented the Federal Emergency Relief Act that was implemented in 1933 (David, 2014). In respect to this program, about $250 million was released to address the needs of the people. Social welfare is therefore a “collaborative effort that involves the contributions of different individuals and stakeholders” (Moore, 2013, p. 479).

President Lyndon Johnson also introduced new laws in order to promote the country’s social welfare. He introduced a legislation called the War on Poverty. During his period, Congress passed the famous Economic Opportunity Act (EOA) in order to deal with poverty. During the 1960s, America encountered numerous challenges such as poverty, inequality, and discrimination. President Johnson decided to initiate new programs in order to deal with the above issues (Jacobs, 2013). This idea resulted in the Great Society policies. Such policies dealt with poverty and racial discrimination in the country.

Bill Clinton presented numerous ideas in order to assist many people. A new Federal Assistance (FA) emerged in order to support different families and poor children. The Temporary Assistance of Needy Families (TANF) was one of these FA programs. The program was operational by July 1996. The Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) had been in place for many years from 1930s to 1990s. In 1996, the American president decided to initiate the TANFT program in order to support every poor family (Jacobs, 2013). Such laws and institutions made it easier for the country to achieve new goals.

President Obama’s Health Care Plan has promoted the idea of social welfare in the country. This Health Care Plan will ensure more people in the country acquire the best medical support. This argument explains why social welfare will be relevant in the future. This healthcare program has made it easier for many people to get appropriate medical cover. This social welfare strategy will address the needs of the less fortunate members of the society (Gilbert, 2014). President Obama’s Health Care Plan is therefore a useful social welfare program. According to studies, Federal Welfare Spending (FWS) in the United States has grown by over 32 % within the past three years. This situation explains how Obama’s government has been ready to tackle different social welfare issues.

Social Welfare History in America

How Social Policies Influence Human Services

The government and other social institutions should support the needs of every citizen. Many organizations have emerged in order to uphold and protect the social needs of the public. This knowledge explains why social welfare remains a powerful practice in many countries. Social welfare “supports the diverse needs of many people such as the elderly, the young, and the poor” (David, 2014, p. 2827). This discussion examines how social policies determine the effectiveness of various human services. The essay also examines how governments, social policies, and human services are interrelated.

Social laws and policies encourage communities to achieve most of their goals. According to Stritt (2014, p. 82), “social policy focuses on the actions undertaken by different communities in order to support the wellbeing of their people”. Social policies encourage many communities support the needs of their populations. Social policies “have the potential to avail different services to the targeted people” (David, 2014, p. 2829). The government should use various policies to safeguard the needs of its people. Social policies “have made it easier for different nations to support different areas such as health, employment, child protection, disability, education, and human welfare” (Stritt, 2014, p. 84).

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Social policies encourage local organizations, governments, and communities to work together. This practice has the potential to address every societal problem. Some social laws ensure every person achieves his or her goals. A good example is the Child Protection Act. This policy ensures every child achieves his or her objectives in life. The social policies supported in specific communities determine the services availed to every targeted population (David, 2014). For instance, social policies have produced better health services and transportation systems in the developing world.

The American government has used various policies in order to improve the quality of services availed to more people. Different public health policies “have forced many organizations and businesses to engage in ethical practices” (Moore, 2013, p. 482). Such practices have made it easier for every individual to acquire the best goals. Such policies have addressed the challenges affecting different people in the world (Gilbert, 2014). Such policies “explain why more people are getting better health services, proper transportation systems, and appropriate living conditions” (Hasenfeld & Garrow, 2012, p. 306).

Social Policies, Governments, and Delivery of Human Services

The government implements various social policies in order to offer quality human services. The government formulates useful laws in order to dictate the actions of different businesses. The government “should support the welfare of its people” (Jacobs, 2013, p. 149). The government cannot support its people without using the most appropriate regulations and laws (Gilbert, 2014). This fact explains why every government should support different social policies.

The government collaborates with different organizations, community advocates, and public sectors in order to deal with different social problems. Many learning institutions and companies have undertaken various studies in order to examine the issues affecting different populations. The “government liaises with such organizations in order to improve the quality of services availed to different people” (Moore, 2013, p. 481). The government “cannot achieve its goals without liaising with different citizens, community workers, and civil servants” (Moore, 2013, p. 481). This practice creates powerful networks that can produce support different communities.

Many governments formulate appropriate programs in order to deal with the challenges affecting their people. President Franklin Roosevelt “implemented the Federal Emergency Relief Act in 1933 thus releasing over $250 million for social welfare programs” (Gilbert, 2014, p. 603). This social law transformed the lives of many individuals in the country. The government should undertake new researches in order to deal with every challenge. Governments should also collaborate with their citizens in an attempt to offer the best human services (David, 2014). Social policies should therefore address different challenges that affect the greatest number of people.

Improving the Ethical Delivery of Services

Many studies have explored the importance of various social policies. According to such studies, the government should work hard in order to empower its people. Several governments have addressed the needs of every elderly and disabled citizen (Jacobs, 2013). Such policies can equip more individuals with better opportunities. Social policies can therefore transform the lives of many citizens. However, some gaps and obstacles are currently making it impossible for many individuals to achieve their goals. This situation explains why new recommendations are required in order to improve the lives of more people.

Every social policy “should have its ethical aspects” (Moore, 2013, p. 482). For example, many social policies on education have equipped a large number of learners with new opportunities. However, such policies have failed to tackle the issue of discrimination. This situation explains why many children “do not get the required educational resources and support” (Hasenfeld & Garrow, 2012, p. 306). The problem of inequality is common in every society (Gilbert, 2014). New approaches will ensure the government identifies different regions that require the best attention. New guidelines and regulations will ensure every community deals with its social problems (Hasenfeld & Garrow, 2012).

The government should encourage different agencies, entrepreneurs, religious groups, and individuals to support every social policy. Community leaders should collaborate with the above agencies in order to support their people. New “ethical regulations and requirements will ensure every natural resource is shared equally” (Jacobs, 2013, p. 142). The government should identify the right resources and strategies in order to support its citizens.

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Recommendations for Improvements

The above arguments and literature findings examine how the government collaborates with various organizations. This approach has availed the right services to many people. According to David (2014, p. 2831), “the challenges existing in a given society encourages its leaders to develop the best social policies”. The history of the American society presents powerful ideas that can improve the services availed to different individuals.

For example, President Herbert Hoover decided to institute the Emergency Relief and Construction Act in 1932. This law managed to transform the issue of social welfare in America (Hasenfeld & Garrow, 2012). Community workers should therefore “examine the problems affecting their societies in order to offer the best human services” (Hasenfeld & Garrow, 2012, p. 309). Governments should address most of the challenges affecting their citizens.

Concluding Summary

It is appropriate for every government to collaborate with its citizens. This approach will identify the gaps and challenges affecting different societies. The government can hire more social workers in order to interact with every vulnerable group. The above arguments and literature findings are agreeable. However, different communities should implement new laws in order to produce the best outcomes (Gilbert, 2014). Human welfare should be a continuous practice.

The government must examine every new issue affecting its people. The practice will improve the quality of human services availed to different communities. New policies and social laws will support the needs of many citizens. The above practices will result in economic growth and sustainability. The contributions of different people such as Barack Obama, Lyndon Johnson, and Bill Clinton have reshaped the issue of social welfare in America. That being the case, different agencies should collaborate with the government is order to support the issue of social welfare.

Annotated Bibliography

1. David, S. (2014). Protecting Civil Rights in the Shadows. Yale Law Journal, 123(1), 2806-2836.

The author discusses how the Civil Rights of the American citizenry were protected following several constitutional undertakings that included the New Deal. Consequently, David’s article shows how the Americans disregarded ‘majority politics’ in favor of social commitment in terms of the country’s legal perspectives. The author reveals that the social welfare policies have been oriented to political focus rather than concentrating on eradicating poverty.

In addition, the article reveals how the consideration of social rights has been developed in terms of legal frameworks. The author provides useful insight into the dynamics of American social policies such as social welfare. The article cleverly juxtaposes the influences of the institutions that led to the creation of ‘anti-poverty’ policies. Nevertheless, the author of the article focuses too much on different political patterns.

2. Gilbert, M. (2014). Judicial Independence and Social Welfare. Michigan Law Review, 112(4), 575-625.

The author presents an analysis of the effects of judicial independence on the social welfare of citizenry in the USA. According to the author, an independent judiciary can make non-legalistic decisions that can lead to the imposition of high costs on the side of the society. Nevertheless, the author also notes that the same independent judiciary can make non-legalistic decisions that have a low financial impact on the society. The author of this article has an obvious bias because he leans too much on the negative aspects of an independent judiciary. Furthermore, the author fails to discuss the parallels of the judiciary such as the executive and the legislature.

3. Hasenfeld, Y., & Garrow, E. (2012). Nonprofit Human-Service Organizations, Social Rights, and Advocacy in a Neoliberal Welfare State. Social Service Review, 86(2), 295-322.

This article explains how different NGOs can support the issue of social welfare. The authors examine the best practices that can safeguard various social rights. Different advocacy groups can embrace the best practices in order to support different social policies. The authors examine how different nonprofit human-service organizations can support different communities. The article informs the reader about the significance of social welfare.

4. Jacobs, M. (2013). Remembering the Forgotten Child in the American Indian Child Welfare Crisis of the 1960s and 1970s. American Indian Quarterly, 37(1-2), 136-159.

This article is a discussion of the issues facing Indian Americans in their day-to-day activities. The article focuses on the welfare of Indian American children. According to the authors, the adoption of Indian American children into American families prompted the government to re-examine these children’s welfare. Consequently, some legislation agendas sought to put the welfare of Indian children under their own countries. This article presents the issue of child welfare in a manner that is not often addressed by historians and scholars. The author is able to dig into history and unravel an issue that is almost forgotten.

5. Moore, L. (2013). Women and the Emergence of NAACP. Journal of Social Work Education, 49(1), 476-489.

The author of this article touches on how the female citizenry in USA participated in the establishment and development of NAACP. In this regard, the author shows how the white and black women agreed to sign for the establishment of an institution that can enable the achievement of equity between the two races. The article is quite informative to social scholars who might be interested in mapping patterns of social equality. According to the article, equality issues have effectively shaped the American history.

5. Stritt, S. (2014). The First Faith-Based Movement for the Religious Roots of Social Progressivism in America (1880-1912) in Historical Perspective. Journal of Sociology & Social Welfare, 41(1), 77-101.

This article is a review of the social transformation that occurred in America from 18th and 19th century. The author focuses on the blend of nationalism and religious idealism that resulted in social transformation. It is worth noting that the article takes special interest in the ‘progressive era’ in which American social reformers became prominent. This article is a valuable historical review of social welfare because it covers a period of more than twenty-five years.

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