Although welfare reform is currently the government's top priority, most discussions about the public's responsibility to the poor neglect an informed historical perspective. This important book provides a crucial examination of past attempts, both in this country and abroad, to balance the efforts of private charity and public welfare. The prominent historians in this collection demonstrate how solutions to poverty are functions of culture, religion, and politics, and how social provisions for the poor have evolved across the centuries.
Donald T. Critchlow is editor of the Journal of Policy History and his books include The Brookings Institution: Expertise and Influence in a Democratic Society, Studebaker: The Life and Death of an American Corporation, and Intended Consequences: Birth Control, Abortion, and the Federal Government. Charles H. Parker is assistant professor of history at Saint Louis University and author of The Reformation of Community: Social Welfare and Calvinist Charity in Holland.