THE purpose of this book is somewhat better explained by the subtitle than by the title. The attempt to chart the course of British social policy since the Industrial Revolution is its main aim, and it is only from such a study that the evolution of the Welfare State emerges. The evolution of the British Welfare State is not seen as an example of the Whig interpretation of history, the unfolding of some great scheme of progress as increasingly enlightened men approached ever onward and upward a future promised land. Rather it is seen as an erratic and pragmatic response of government and people to the practical individual and community problems of an industrialised society. We are not so much searching for the origins of a specific set of social truths as tracing the route British social policy followed during a specific period.
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