The Pennsylvania State University
Cover for the book Federal Social Policy

Federal Social Policy

The Historical Dimension Edited by Donald T. Critchlow, and Ellis W. Hawley
  • Copyright: 1988
  • Dimensions: 6 x 9
  • Page Count: 216 pages
  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-271-00617-8
  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-271-02628-2

Paperback Edition: $33.95Add to Cart


Reflecting the growing interest in social policy history, this book provides a penetrating examination of the development of social policy in the twentieth-century America. An introductory chapter serving as an overview to the field is followed by seven original essays which explore the historical context for understanding the formulation, implementation, and administration of social policy.

Robert Kelly's Foreword discusses the growth of policy history in recent years. In his introduction Donald Critchlow argues that "policy history" encompasses historical reconstructions of development in particular social policy areas and attempts to make overall sense of policy-making processes. The chapters are presented in two sections.

The first, Reconstructions of Policy Developments, includes W. Andrew Achenbaum's account of federal policies toward the aged since 1920; Brian Balogh's discussion of the emergence of the Social Security Board as a political actor, from 1935 to 1939; and Judith Sealander's examination of policy formation and women's issues between 1940 and 1980.

In the second section, The Historical and Institutional Contexts of Policy-making, Morton Keller addresses social policy and the liberal state in twentieth-century America; Jack L. Walker examines interests, political parties, and policy formation in the American democracy; and Edward Berkowitz concludes with an essay on social welfare and the American state.

With studies representative of the best work in the historical analysis of social policy, this volume will be of interest to scholars in history, political science, and public policy, as well as to educated laymen seeking to understand social policy as it has emerged in modern America.

Donald T. Critchlow earned his PhD from the University of California at Berkeley and is professor of history at the University of Notre Dame. He has authored or edited numerous works, including The Brookings Institution, 1916–1952: Expertise and the Public Interest in a Democratic Society (1985).

Ellis W. Hawley, Professor of History at the University of Iowa, earned his PhD at the University of Wisconsin. His published works include The New Deal and the Problem of Monopoly (1995) and The Great War and the Search for a Modern Order (1997).

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