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, labour leaders, scholars, politicians, and governmental agencies to ensure American citizens the basics of food, housing, employment, education, and health care. 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's Hull House; from the Civil Works Administration to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s call for an Economic Bill of Rights; and from William Julius Wilson's universal programme of reform to George W. Bush's armies of compassion.
"…the story told by Myers-Lipton is profoundly educational and is a must read for those seeking to lay the ground for meeting America's poverty challenge in the future."
—Tracey L. Farrigan, Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society
“Scott J. Myers-Lipton has compiled an impressive array of articles on the social context of poverty in the United States and on the various plans and proposals to alleviate human suffering. His unique volume could become a standard reference not only for scholars and students who study poverty, but also for policymakers and citizens seeking realistic solutions.”
—William Julius Wilson, Louis P. and Linda L. Geyser University Professor, Harvard University
"Social Solutions to Poverty: America’s Struggle to Build a Just Society is one of those rare books that should be bought, read, kept, and used again and again. It is not only an unsettling story of poverty and the attempts to relieve it, but a reference work that teachers, students, and serious thinkers of whatever station will want to keep close at hand.”
—Dr. Charles Lemert, Wesleyan University
"Ranging across time and including views of a diverse group of Americans - from Thomas Paine to Tecumseh and from W.E.B. Du Bois to Herbert Hoover, Huey Long, and George W. Bush - this book not only provides the reader with insight into the history of our society's debates about the challenge of poverty, it also can help lay the foundation for future steps to respond to that challenge."
—Congressman Mark Udall
"At a time in which scholarly policy work often has become divorced from the acute reality of pain and suffering, Myers-Lipton has delivered up a treatise that harkens back to Michael Harrington's moving wake-up call, 'The Other America.'"
—J. Larry Brown
1. Native American Contributions to Egalitarianism 2. The Early Republic and Antebellum America: Moral Cures, Poorhouses, and Structural Solutions 3. After the Civil War: The Rise of Labor and Scientific Charity 4. The (Un) Progressive Era; The Great Depression and the New Deal Era 5. The War on Poverty 6. The Dismantling of the Great Society and New Deal: Contemporary Solutions