The Historical Context: Basic Concepts and Early Influences
The Historical Context: Basic Concepts and Early Influences presents history as a policy practice tool and provides an analytic framework to support that approach. This chapter examines the historical context for the development of social welfare policies and programs, discusses the genesis of social welfare in early societies, and traces the development of U.S. social policies through the early years of the twentieth century. The chapter discusses the origins of social work, discriminatory health and mental policies during this period, the formation of the Democratic and Republican Parties, the importance of policy research and advocacy done by pioneer social workers, and the pivotal role of women in social policy development during the 1800s and 1900s. New to this fifth edition are expanded discussions of slavery, oppression of Native Americans, and the racist origins of many U.S. social policies. Throughout this chapter, we have drawn connections between historical policies and current debates, including those related to work requirements in means-tested programs. As requested by reviewers, exhibits in Chapter 2 are designed to make historical events and people “come alive” for students. The voices and experiences of women and people of color are also highlighted in these history chapters, even if they were seldom centered in policy discussions at the time.