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Backlash against Welfare MothersPast and Present$
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Ellen Reese

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780520244610

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520244610.001.0001

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. The 1950s Welfare Backlash and Federal Complicity

. The 1950s Welfare Backlash and Federal Complicity

(p.34) (p.35) 3. The 1950s Welfare Backlash and Federal Complicity
Backlash against Welfare Mothers

Ellen Reese

University of California Press

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

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