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date: 16 April 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Although many American communities had erected an impressive array of charitable institutions by the 1920s, they crumbled under the unemployment and poverty generated by the Great Depression. President Franklin Roosevelt, elected in 1932, set aside the concerns of his predecessor, Herbert Hoover, about the dangers of federally provided relief, and presided over the creation of emergency public relief and employment programs as part of the New Deal. With the passage of the Social Security Act in 1935, Roosevelt and his Congressional allies established a permanent basis for a federal role in social welfare provision. The benefits of these programs were substantial, but they were sharply influenced by the race and gender of their recipients. Hopes for more robust federal programs were dispelled by the economic recovery associated with World War Two. Instead, the war saw the expansion of private, workplace-based benefits destined to be major elements of postwar social provision.

Keywords: charity, depression, Franklin Roosevelt, Herbert Hoover, New Deal, relief, Social Security, World War II

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