By Matthew A. Crenson
This ebook examines the relationship among the decline of the orphanage and the increase of welfare. Matthew Crenson argues that the prehistory of the welfare process used to be performed out now not at the level of nationwide politics or type clash yet within the micropolitics of institutional administration. New preparations for baby welfare coverage emerged steadily as superintendents, traveling brokers, and charity officers replied to the problems that they encountered in working orphanages or developing platforms that served as possible choices to institutional care. Crenson additionally follows the decades-long debate in regards to the relative benefits of family members care or institutional take care of based kids. Leaving negative young ones at domestic with their moms emerged because the most widely applicable substitute to the orphanage, in addition to an bold new notion of social reform. rather than sheltering weak youngsters in associations designed to rework them into virtuous electorate, the reformers of the innovative period attempted to combine terrible little ones into the bigger society, whereas retaining them from its perils.
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Extra info for Building the Invisible Orphanage: A Prehistory of the American Welfare System
Neither the regime of the orphanage nor the struggle to dismantle it was unique to the United States. But Americans were notable for the enthusiasm with which they took up the work of orphanage building and the energy that they invested in replacing the institution with family care. An exceptional laggard in matters of public social policy, the United States was improbably precocious when it came to orphanages—in terms of both their proliferation and their subsequent abandonment. Not surprisingly, the closest parallels for American child welfare policy were to be found in Britain and Canada.
42 Perhaps the reformers wanted too much, but the magnitude of their vision should prompt us to reconsider the retrospective judgment that America was a straggler in the march of nations toward the age of the welfare state. Many Americans—especially those who were most active in fashioning social welfare policies—were convinced that they were organizing a distinctively American movement that would lead to “much more splendid things” than Europe dreamed of. 43 They clearly found poverty unacceptable.
The “deﬁciencies” of these patriarchal political institutions in the United States left an opening for female activism in the cause of maternalist policies. ”31 But the presence of this space did not mean that women or other maternalists would inevitably occupy it. The relative weakness of state bureaucratic institutions and working-class political organizations are not sufﬁcient by themselves to explain the maternalist enthusiasm that linked the readers of the Delineator to the charity experts at the White House Conference on the Care of Dependent Children.