. The 1950s Welfare Backlash and Federal Complicity

Ellen Reese

in Backlash against Welfare Mothers

Published by University of California Press

Published in print July 2005 | ISBN: 9780520244610
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520938717 | DOI:
. The 1950s Welfare Backlash and Federal Complicity

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This chapter presents an overview of the 1950s welfare backlash and explores how federal officials’ lax control over Aid to Dependent Children (ADC) encouraged states to develop tough new welfare policies. After New Deal officials were replaced with more conservative ones, they became more tolerant of states’ efforts to restrict ADC, encouraging the spread of new rules and regulations. Federal welfare officials permitted the use of “suitable home” policies, overturning only the most blatant forms of discrimination against unwed mothers. In 1960, Louisiana adopted a thirty-bill “segregation package” that included restrictions on voting and other antiblack measures. Louisiana’s “suitable home” policy provoked considerable criticism. The federal agency’s response to the “Louisiana crisis” was significant because it signaled a decline in federal tolerance for states’ restrictive welfare policies.

Keywords: welfare backlash; federal welfare officials; Aid to Dependent Children; welfare policies; suitable home policy; Louisiana; federal agency

Chapter.  4903 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Marriage and the Family

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