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Contribution to Book
The Poor, Always with Us
Social Solutions to Poverty: America's Struggle to Build a Just Society (2007)
  • Charles C Lemert, Wesleyan University

The voices of famous and lesser known figures in America's quest to reduce poverty are collected for the first time in this comprehensive historical anthology. The book traces the most important ideas and contributions of citizens, activists, labor leaders, scholars, politicians, and governmental agencies to ensure American citizens the basics of food, housing, employment, education, and health care. Compared to typical Horatio Alger stories, the book tells the other important component of the building of the American Dream—the creation of successful institutions like Social Security that would stabilize and safeguard American democracy. The book follows the idea of poverty reduction from Thomas Paine’s agrarian justice to Josiah Quincy’s proposal for the construction of poorhouses; from the Freedmen’s Bureau to Sitting Bull’s demand for money and supplies; from Coxey’s army of the unemployed to Jane Addams’ Hull House; from the Civil Works Administration to Dr. Martin Luther King’s call for an Economic Bill of Rights; and from William Julius Wilson’s universal program of reform to George Bush’s armies of compassion. Each chapter is composed of three sections. The first section includes a discussion of the social context of the time period, as well as a general overview of the solutions from each era. The second section contains five to seven original documents (i.e., speeches, articles, and proposals) that highlight the various grassroots and elite plans. The third section includes a discussion of the outcome of each proposal.

Publication Date
Charles Lemert
Citation Information
Charles C Lemert. "The Poor, Always with Us" Social Solutions to Poverty: America's Struggle to Build a Just Society (2007)
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