When Movements Matter
The Townsend Plan and the Rise of Social Security
By (author) Edwin Amenta
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When Movements Matter by Edwin Amenta
Book DescriptionWhen Movements Matter accounts for the origins of Social Security as we know it. The book tells the overlooked story of the Townsend Plan--a political organization that sought to alleviate poverty and end the Great Depression through a government-provided retirement stipend of $200 a month for every American over the age of sixty. Both the Townsend Plan, which organized two million older Americans into Townsend clubs, and the wider pension movement failed to win the generous and universal senior citizens' pensions their advocates demanded. But the movement provided the political impetus behind old-age policy in its formative years and pushed America down the track of creating an old-age welfare state. Drawing on a wealth of primary evidence, historical detail, and arresting images, Edwin Amenta traces the ups and downs of the Townsend Plan and its elderly leader Dr. Francis E. Townsend in the struggle to remake old age. In the process, Amenta advances a new theory of when social movements are influential. The book challenges the conventional wisdom that U.S. old-age policy was a result mainly of the Depression or farsighted bureaucrats. It also debunks the current view that America immediately embraced Social Security when it was adopted in 1935. And it sheds new light on how social movements that fail to achieve their primary goals can still influence social policy and the way people relate to politics.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780691138268
(229mm x 152mm x 20mm)
Imprint: Princeton University Press
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publish Date: 1-Jul-2008
Country of Publication: United States
Books By Author Edwin Amenta
Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Political Sociology, Paperback (September 2016)
With contributions from an international, interdisciplinary group of leading scholars, The Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Political Sociology is a complete reference guide, reflecting the scope and quality of the discipline, and highlighting emerging topics in the field.
Professor Baseball, Hardback (April 2007)
For wild-haired, bespectacled professor, playing softball in New York's Central Park means a whole lot more. He coaxes his skeptical teammates to follow his sabermetric and sociological approach, based equally on Bill James and Max Weber, which in the heady days of early success he dubs "Eddy Ball." Can he turn his team - and his life - around?
Bold Relief, Paperback (March 2000)» View all books by Edwin Amenta
According to conventional wisdom, American social policy has always been exceptional - exceptionally stingy and backwards. This title explains why the country's leading role was short-lived. It shows that the New Deal was in fact a bold program of relief, committed to providing jobs and income support for the unemployed.
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Author Biography - Edwin Amenta
Edwin Amenta is professor of sociology and history at the University of California, Irvine. He is the author of "Professor Baseball" and "Bold Relief: Institutional Politics and the Origins of Modern American Social Policy" (Princeton).
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