Essay on Social Policy

Submitted By becken33
Words: 1086
Pages: 5

What a Relief! Early Social Relief Efforts Still Seen Today

Social work in modern America stems from our early roots in the 1800's. The idea that the poor exist and that something needed to be done to ensure the moral well-being of our society has dated back even further through various religious and scientific ideologies such as Calvinism and Darwinism. The idea that was quite popular of 1800's was that one could offer guidance and support, but of a non-material type. If I were poor, my neighbor would let me know if a job opened up and basically tell me to keep working rather then give me money or free food. This idea would suffice in a rural community where everyone was close and depended on each other for parts and labor. As America transitioned in the later 1800's many people migrated to urban areas to find more available work in the hopes of attaining the American dream. Unfortunately, this was not the case for many families as they came to the harsh realization that cities were extremely crowded, dirty, unsafe, low-paying and generally a lonely place for country folk. These factors were a perfect storm for what social woes were to come during the American Industrial Revolution of the late 1800's Many workers were abused and treated with disrespect by their bosses and the promise of reform by political candidates was too enticing to pass up. Votes were traded for assistance in obtaining basic necessities like food, clothing, shelter, and other needs. With so many struggling poor, politicians had a veritable candy shop to be plundered and plunder they did. The masses did gain certain protections such as workers compensation, adoption programs for children and better working situations for children and women. This type of insurance would play a key social role as this model would be implemented to combat the collapse of America's great financial system in the late 1920's. The Great Depression would usher in the New Deal, President Franklin D. Roosevelt's response to the social needs of Americans on a national scale. Unprecedented unemployment due to the collapse of banks caused city gutters, parks and abandoned buildings to be littered with homeless that a year prior had well paying middle-class jobs. Suddenly, whites were stricken by poverty and this new face of poverty opened the eyes of Americans to the concept of social welfare. A new worthwhile effort on a national scale to get America back into good social graces was born. Rather than using a constructed and precise plan, Roosevelt offered the idea that an attempt at solving the problem was better than doing nothing at all and if it failed then attempt it again. The New Deal brought about drastic changes in social welfare policy still in use today such as social security, food assistance, fair labor standards, public assistance for children, emergency aid, temporary work programs, and unemployment insurance establishing the federal government's role in social welfare. (DiNitto ,2011, p.72) These social policy relief efforts were a major paradigm shift in what the American people accepted as necessary and sufficient aid that would be used to justify the future battle with poverty to win a Great Society. After the end of World War II, America's economy was stronger then it had ever been with many soldiers coming home to start families, as well as assimilate back into civilian society and enjoy the fruits of their hard earned labor. For many, this was the case as the 1950's were indeed a rare point in time for America and its successful white picket fence families. As history shows poverty does not simply disappear. The great Roman Empire had many poor and so did the 1950's Chevy driving, Elvis loving America. A few additions were added to the social security act to help the disabled and retired survivors but not much was done for those far below the poverty line. Nearly 40 million Americans lived in poverty at the start of