Discussion A On one page, discuss your view of progressives and what they stood for in the early 1900s and compare them to the progressives of today. Are they similar? What are the differences? Discussion B On one page, pick two classical sociologists and state what you agree with or disagree with and why. unit 7 The Early 20th Century and Welfare The following information is taken from the book titled: America’s Struggle Against Poverty: 1900-1985 by James T. Patterson 1986. In the early 1900’s the United States economy was booming. There was great hope that poverty would be greatly reduced. That the plight of poor people would get better (Patterson, 1986). The dominant view was still that poverty was the result of one’s own choice or that the person was morally corrupt. Francis Walker an economics professor in 1897 stated that poverty was a choice (Paterson 1986, P. 21). Other social scientists were arguing that the environment played a major role. That is, people are born into an advantaged situation and people are born into a disadvantaged situation. Where one lives determines which schools you go to, who your friends are and what type of help your parents can give you in terms of tutoring or any going to private schools that have a cost. Sociologists and Social Workers in the early 1900’s were presenting evidence that there are economic or social class reasons for the continuation of poverty, that poverty is not just the result of individual choosing. Social Scientist were showing empirical evidence that in 1913 and 1914 that over 10 million people did not have enough money to have a place to eat and live (Patterson 1986, P. 23). The scientists presented evidence that poverty was not something genetically caused. Social Scientist were now advocating for programs that could be implemented at the federal government level that could help the lot of many poor people. Poverty could disappear using the right social programs. This reflected a great deal of optimism. Social work was now an academic degree. In 1919 there were 17 schools of social work (Patterson 1986). But this view was now in contrast to the rugged individualism philosophy. The two views that are still with us today. The people doing this advocating in the early 1900’s were viewed then and today as progressives. These progressives advocated for a revision of the juvenile court system, that juveniles should be treated differently than adults. The philosophy was that the sooner one gets to a young person the better the odds of getting out of poverty. The progressives also advocated for minimum wages, racial justice, and making child labor illegal (Patterson 1986). There were organizations now calling for social security for people, such as the American Association for Labor Legislation in 1906. Social security however would not come about until 1935. The organization also called for minimum wages and better working conditions. Most of these reforms did not take place however until the 1930’s. One will learn about the 1930’s to modern times in the second welfare course. By 1930 there was not one state that had unemployment benefits. Most of the welfare spending prior to 1930 was still being done by private groups and at the local and state level. The range of help by the state government in the early 1930’s was $4.33 a month in Arkansas and $69.31 a month in Massachusetts (Patterson, 1986, P. 29). Most of the help if it came at all was spent on indoor relief or almshouses. And extraordinarily little relief, if any, from the federal government. The corporate world did not want unemployment insurance. The poor had to fend for themselves until the great depression of 1929. Social Welfare II will pick up from 1929 to the present in dealing with social welfare. For now, attention will be given to certain theories and terminology associated with the welfare system. Summary In conclusion the early 1900’s was an economic boom period. There was hope that with a great economy poverty would be eliminated. Social Scientists were using empirical scientific evidence to demonstrate that the environment was playing a role in helping to keep people in poverty. But the dominant philosophy was still enormously powerful which is the belief that poverty is an individual choice and that the individual not the system is to blame. This is still with us today, but the environmental view has equal power today.