The Modern Pauper

The Homeless in Welfare History
  • Joel F. Handler
Part of the Topics in Social Psychiatry book series (TSPS)


Ever since war and famine have occurred, there have been welfare policies to deal with the poor. Although these policies are complex and shift during various periods, some firm generalizations can be made. Often the immediate task of welfare policy was to help deal with disorder; throughout history, armies of the poor have posed threats to society. A second task was the relief of misery; despite the strong social control features of welfare policy, there has always been a humanitarian voice. The third task was preservation of labor markets; relief had to be given under such terms and conditions as would not encourage those who could work to seek welfare instead. This last point is known as the principle of “less eligibility”—that is, the terms of relief had to be less desirable than the conditions of the lowest-paid labor. This is the essence of the work requirement, which often conflicts with the other two principles.


Social Security Dependent Child Welfare Policy Juvenile Court Work Requirement 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Katz M: In the Shadow of the Poorhouse. New York, Basic Books, 1986.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Himmelfarb G: The Idea of Poverty: England in the Early Industrial Age. New York, Alfred Knopf, 1984, p 165.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Wilson W: Cycles of deprivation and the underclass debate. Social Service Review, December 1985, pp 541-557.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Roberts P: Why don’t we do it right this time? Redefining the welfare reform debate. Clearinghouse Review 21:1305, 1988.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Handler J: The transformation of Aid to Families with Dependent Children: The Family Support Act in historical context. New York University Review of Law & Social Change 16:458, 1987-1988.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Handler J, Hollingsworth E: The “Deserving Poor”: A Study of Welfare Administration. New York, Academic Press, 1971, p 17.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Platt A: The Child Savers. Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1969.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    U.S. Committee on Economic Security, Social Security Board: Social Security in America: The Factual Background of the Social Security Act as Summarized from Staff Reports to the Committee on Economic Security by the Social Security Board. Washington, DC, Government Printing Office, 1937, ch 17.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Irwin R, McKay E: The Social Security Act and the blind. Law & Contemporary Problems 3:271–272, 1936.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Kessler-Harris A: Out to Work: A History of Wage-Earning Women in the United States. New York, Oxford University Press, 1982, pp 122–123.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Bell W: Aid to Dependent Children. New York, Columbia University Press, 1965, pp 4–14.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    McDonald M: Food Stamps and Income Maintenance. New York, Academic Press, 1977, pp 9–12.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Handler J, Sosin M: Last Resorts: Emergency Assistance and Special Needs Programs in Public Welfare. New York, Academic Press, 1983, ch 2.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Rensch v. County of Los Angeles: Memorandum of points and authorities in support of application for temporary restraining Order and order to show cause.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joel F. Handler
    • 1
  1. 1.School of LawUniversity of California, Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA

Personalised recommendations