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The Bias of American Federalism: The Limits of Welfare-State Development in the Progressive Era

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Document pages: 31 pages

Abstract: Welfare state programs developed later in the United States than in other nations. Today, American programs are less widely accessible, less uniform, and often less generous than programs abroad. Explanations for this relative conservatism usually focus on the lack of a socialist movement or a socialist ideological tradition in the United States. Yet during the Progressive Era, when the gap between the American and European welfare states widened significantly enough for contemporaries to acknowledge it, the forces for social reform had never been stronger in the United States. In many ways these forces resembled those in England, which at the time was laying the foundations for a model welfare state.

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