Welfare has been central to a number of significant political debates in modern America:

  • What role should the government play in alleviating poverty?
  • What does a government owe its citizens, and who is entitled to help?
  • How have race and gender shaped economic opportunities and outcomes?
  • How should Americans respond to increasing rates of single parenthood?
  • How have poor women sought to shape their own lives and influence government policies?

With a comprehensive introduction and a well-chosen collection of primary documents, Welfare in the United States chronicles the major turning points in the seventy-year history of Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC). Illuminating policy debates, shifting demographics, institutional change, and the impact of social movements, this book serves as an essential guide to the history of the nation's most controversial welfare program.