By Marvin Olasky
"A richly documented, debatable heritage of the welfare state...." --Publishers Weekly
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Extra info for The Tragedy of American Compassion
Patrick's, St. Joseph's, and other parishes provided relief and moral instruction. By the 1840s and 1850s societies to help the "worthy poor" generally-and not only widows or orphans-were springing up in every major American city, mainly along Chalmers' lines. The Boston Pr<>vident Association, established in 1851, gave food, clothes, or coal, rather than money, to those willing to work and in temporary need, but it refused to aid drunkards. Association supporters were asked to give beggars not money but cards proposing a visit to association offices, where volunteers would examine their needs, make job referrals, and provide food and temporary shelter for those deserving help.
Go Hungry"). They constantly argued that a biblical understanding of theology was the first step toward an accurate ,·iew of anthropology, which in turn was needed to keep help from turning into its opposite. -,sstoN 11 In practice, since work was readily available, there was no talk of structural unemployment; instead, the major type of poverty dealt with was caused by a calamity such as fire and earthquake, or by crippling accident or early death (often by disease). Sufferers of that kind were to receive personal care, often in neighbors' homes.
In a small town, the society noted, those who acted in embarrassing ways were not "overlooked, nor could [they] escape in the crowd. " 59 Another factor was an expanding economy with a convenient frontier: Since the able-bodied had opportunities to work, except during short periods of business panic, and since young men could always go west and grow up with the country, it was commonly said that "no man who is temperate, frugal, and willing to work, need suffer or become a pauper for want of employment.
The Tragedy of American Compassion by Marvin Olasky