Title

The Sympathetic State: Disaster Relief and the Origins of the American Welfare State

Document Type

Lecture

Publication Date

9-19-2013

Comments

On Thursday, September 19, Michele Landis Dauber of Stanford Law School delivers the 2013 Hendricks Lecture in Law and History. The title of Prof. Dauber's talk is "The Sympathetic State: Disaster Relief and the Origins of the American Welfare State."

The lecture began at 3:00 p.m. in the Stackhouse Theater, Elrod Commons on the campus of Washington and Lee University.

In "The Sympathetic State," Prof. Dauber traces the roots of the modern American welfare state beyond the New Deal and the Progressive Era back to the earliest days of the republic when relief was forthcoming for the victims of wars, fires, floods, hurricanes, and earthquakes. While most accounts of this period presume that the 19th century was dominated by a laissez-faire ideology in which the constitution prevented the federal government from aiding the poor, Prof. Dauber shows that in the case of disaster relief the federal government spent freely. This spending was hotly contested by Washington and Lee's John Randolph Tucker, and later by his son, who feared the implications of increased federal power on the south.

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