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This new edition of Patterson's widely used book carries the story of battles over poverty and social welfare through what the author calls the "amazing 1990s," those years of extraordinary performance of the economy. He explores a range of issues arising from the economic phenomenon--increasing inequality and demands for use of an improved poverty definition. He focuses the story on the impact of the highly controversial welfare reform of 1996, passed by a Republican Congress and signed by a Democratic President Clinton, despite the laments of anguished liberals.
"Throughout this terrific book, Wilson places this government agency-its creation, its lifespan and achievements, and its mixed legacies-in the broader context of postwar American history and, more specifically, the history of employment policy." --Jason Scott Smith, author of Building New Deal Liberalism: The Political Economy of Public Works, 1933-1956 With clarity and insight, Gregory S. Wilson recounts the story of the Area Redevelopment Administration and connects a nearly forgotten piece of American employment history to national and transnational developments in the making of social policy in the years between the New Deal and the Great Society. Communities Left Behind demonstrates how the United States has, since the Great Depression, tried but failed to address the nation's structural inequalities, and it reopens discussions about poverty and economic dislocation in a period when the country is facing new economic challenges. The ARA was created in 1961 and remained in operation until 1965. Its goal was to assist communities, especially economically distressed ones in rural or undeveloped areas of the country, in generating employment opportunities. Unstated in the creation of the ARA was its intention to serve as an economic development project mostly for Appalachia and the American South, where nearly all of its money was spent. Wilson argues that the ARA was doomed to fail from the beginning because of the requirement that federal officials not interfere with state and local priorities. It simply was not possible to implement a federal initiative in the South without running afoul of local interests. And, to further complicate matters, the issue of race loomed in the background: when ARA policies aimed to improve employment opportunities for black southerners, they were invariably sabotaged by racist politics. This ambivalent legacy of the ARA is alive today, Wilson suggests, as areas of the nation that have struggled economically since the agency's original creation-including inner cities, Native American reservations, Appalachia, and the rural South-continue to founder. Gregory S. Wilson is associate professor of history at the University of Akron and coeditor of the Northeast Ohio Journal of History.
In a provocative assessment of American poverty and policy from 1950 to the present, Frank Strieker examines an era that has seen serious discussion about the causes of poverty and unemployment. Analyzing the War on Poverty, theories of the culture of poverty and the underclass, the effects of Reaganomics, and the 1996 welfare reform, Strieker dem-onstrates that most antipoverty approaches are futile without the presence (or creation) of good jobs. Strieker notes that since the 1970s, U.S. poverty levels have remained at or above 11 %, despite training programs and periods of economic growth. The creation of jobs has continued to lag behind the need for them. Strieker argues that a serious public debate is needed about the job situation; social programs must be redesigned, a national health care program must be developed, and eco-nomic inequality must be addressed. He urges all sides to be honest - if we don't want to eliminate poverty, then we should say so. But if we do want to reduce poverty significantly, he says, we must expand decent jobs and government income programs, redirecting national resources away from the rich and toward those with low incomes. Why America Lost the War on Poverty - And How to Win It is sure to prompt much-needed debate on how to move forward. Frank Stricker is professor of history at California State University, Dominguez Hills.
The Poor People's Campaign of 1968 has long been overshadowed by the assassination of its architect, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and the political turmoil of that year. In a major reinterpretation of civil rights and Chicano movement history, Gordon K. Mantler demonstrates how King's unfinished crusade became the era's most high-profile attempt at multiracial collaboration and sheds light on the interdependent relationship between racial identity and political coalition among African Americans and Mexican Americans. Mantler argues that while the fight against poverty held great potential for black-brown cooperation, such efforts also exposed the complex dynamics between the nation's two largest minority groups. Drawing on oral histories, archives, periodicals, and FBI surveillance files, Mantler paints a rich portrait of the campaign and the larger antipoverty work from which it emerged, including the labor activism of Cesar Chavez, opposition of Black and Chicano Power to state violence in Chicago and Denver, and advocacy for Mexican American land-grant rights in New Mexico. Ultimately, Mantler challenges readers to rethink the multiracial history of the long civil rights movement and the difficulty of sustaining political coalitions.
In the 1960s, Cleveland suffered through racial violence, spiking crime rates, and a shrinking tax base, as the city lost jobs and population. Rats infested an expanding and decaying ghetto, Lake Erie appeared to be dying, and dangerous air pollution hung over the city. Such was the urban crisis in the "Mistake on the Lake." When the Cuyahoga River caught fire in the summer of 1969, the city was at its nadir, polluted and impoverished, struggling to set a new course. The burning river became the emblem of all that was wrong with the urban environment in Cleveland and in all of industrial America. Carl Stokes, the first African American mayor of a major U.S. city, had come into office in Cleveland a year earlier with energy and ideas. He surrounded himself with a talented staff, and his administration set new policies to combat pollution, improve housing, provide recreational opportunities, and spark downtown development. In Where the River Burned, David Stradling and Richard Stradling describe Cleveland's nascent transition from polluted industrial city to viable service city during the Stokes administration. The story culminates with the first Earth Day in 1970, when broad citizen engagement marked a new commitment to the creation of a cleaner, more healthful and appealing city. Although concerned primarily with addressing poverty and inequality, Stokes understood that the transition from industrial city to service city required massive investments in the urban landscape. Stokes adopted ecological thinking that emphasized the connectedness of social and environmental problems and the need for regional solutions. He served two terms as mayor, but during his four years in office Cleveland's progress fell well short of his administration’s goals. Although he was acutely aware of the persistent racial and political boundaries that held back his city, Stokes was in many ways ahead of his time in his vision for Cleveland and a more livable urban America.
Poor Peoplers"s Medicineis a detailed history of Medicaid since its beginning in 1965. Federally aided and state-operated, Medicaid is the single most important source of medical care for the poorest citizens of the United States. From acute hospitalization to long-term nursing-home care, the nationrs"s Medicaid programs pay virtually the entire cost of physician treatment, medical equipment, and prescription pharmaceuticals for the millions of Americans who fall within government-mandated eligibility guidelines. The product of four decades of contention over the role of government in the provision of health care, some of todayrs"s Medicaid programs are equal to private health plans in offering coordinated, high-quality medical care, while others offer little more than bare-bones coverage to their impoverished beneficiaries.Starting with a brief overview of the history of charity medical care, Jonathan Engel presents the debates surrounding Medicaidrs"s creation and the compromises struck to allow federal funding of the nascent programs. He traces the development of Medicaid through the decades, as various states attempted to both enlarge the programs and more finely tailor them to their intended targets. At the same time, he describes how these new programs affected existing institutions and initiatives such as public hospitals, community clinics, and private pro bono clinical efforts. Along the way, Engel recounts the many political battles waged over Medicaid, particularly in relation to larger discussions about comprehensive health care and social welfare reform.Poor Peoplers"s Medicineis an invaluable resource for understanding the evolution and present state of programs to deliver health care to Americars"s poor.

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