States of Dependency: Welfare, Rights, and American Governance, 1935–1972 (Studies in Legal History)

States of Dependency: Welfare, Rights, and American Governance, 1935–1972 (Studies in Legal History)

  • £29.99

Karen M. Tani
Cambridge University Press, 4/14/2016
EAN 9781107434080, ISBN10: 1107434084

Paperback, 450 pages, 22.9 x 15.2 x 2.6 cm
Language: English

Who bears responsibility for the poor, and who may exercise the power that comes with that responsibility? Amid the Great Depression, American reformers answered this question in new ways, with profound effects on long-standing practices of governance and entrenched understandings of citizenship. States of Dependency traces New Deal welfare programs over the span of four decades, asking what happened as money, expertise and ideas travelled from a federal administrative epicenter in Washington, DC, through state and local bureaucracies, and into diverse and divided communities. Drawing on a wealth of previously un-mined legal and archival sources, Karen Tani reveals how reformers attempted to build a more bureaucratic, centralized and uniform public welfare system; how traditions of localism, federalism and hostility toward the 'undeserving poor' affected their efforts; and how, along the way, more and more Americans came to speak of public income support in the powerful but limiting language of law and rights. The resulting account moves beyond attacking or defending Americans' reliance on the welfare state to explore the complex network of dependencies undergirding modern American governance.

Part I
1. A new deal for poor relief? The modern American state and the endurance of the local
2. An 'appeal to attitude'
rights as an administrative tool
3. Human needs and legal rights
competing visions of governance in 1940s welfare administration
4. Claiming welfare rights
fair hearings, state-court claims, and a forgotten federal case
Part II
5. Dependency and its discontents
the fractious politics of federal grants
6. States' rights meet welfare rights
federal administrative enforcement in the age of rehabilitation and resistance
7. Unsuitable homes, undeserving fathers, and the administrative origins of poverty law
8. Subjects of the constitution, slaves to statutes
the judicial articulation of welfare rights
Appendix. Figures and tables.