Building the Invisible Orphanage: A Prehistory of the by Matthew A. Crenson

By Matthew A. Crenson

This e-book examines the relationship among the decline of the orphanage and the increase of welfare. Matthew Crenson argues that the prehistory of the welfare procedure used to be performed out now not at the level of nationwide politics or classification clash yet within the micropolitics of institutional administration. New preparations for baby welfare coverage emerged progressively as superintendents, traveling brokers, and charity officers replied to the problems that they encountered in working orphanages or growing platforms that served as possible choices to institutional care. Crenson additionally follows the decades-long debate concerning the relative benefits of family members care or institutional deal with based young children. Leaving terrible teenagers at domestic with their moms emerged because the most widely appropriate replacement to the orphanage, in addition to an formidable new notion of social reform. rather than sheltering weak kids in associations designed to remodel them into virtuous voters, the reformers of the revolutionary period attempted to combine terrible kids into the bigger society, whereas maintaining them from its perils.

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Henderson commended charitable assistance for destitute single mothers as a way of helping them to preserve family homes for children. But private charity, he said, was not sufficient. It did not respond to the root causes of “domestic ruin” that left single mothers destitute—disease and accident. ” By shifting the costs of industrial accidents and disease to employers, social insurance could induce these employers to take an interest in workplace safety and health. But the remedies that Henderson had in mind went beyond the social insurance measures already operating in Europe: “When we, a nation with larger wealth and with wealth more rapidly growing than that of any other nation, come to The Decline of the Orphanage and the Invention of Welfare 25 recognize our responsibilities we shall not do like Germany, we shall not do like England and France.

Maternalist” social policy was welfare for the blameless. Not surprisingly, many of the maternalists were women. Public mothering was a legitimate female pursuit because it seemed a simple extension of women’s household function. 58 It was also an arena in which America’s private charities were especially active, and it was through these benevolent societies that American women were mobilized for the work of child saving. Feminine activism did not occur in an institutional vacuum. It became possible, perhaps, because the state had left the field of child welfare open to other actors.

A coalition was forming. Years afterward, Jane Addams recalled a moment at the conference when she and other speakers were waiting to file onto the platform. She overheard Homer Folks, the presiding officer at the time, muttering to himself: “Are we all here? Yes, here is my Catholic speaker, my Jewish speaker, the Protestant, the colored man, and the woman. ”65 But the full meaning of the conference did not become evident until a few minutes later when Addams took the stage and started to speak.

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