Childhood and Child Welfare in the Progressive Era

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Childhood and Child Welfare in the Progressive Era: A Brief History with Documents

James Marten

Publisher: Bedford BooksFormat: Paperback

“Childhood and Child Welfare in the Progressive Era” examines a central focus for reform efforts between 1870 and 1930: children. Progressive-era reformers, holding the middle-class childhood as ideal, found the lives of poor urban children especially troubling. Using the methods of the social sciences, they studied this population and sought government action to remedy what they saw as poor children’s deprivations. In this volume, James Marten first introduces these issues and then presents a collection of documents and images from books, social surveys, and social work journals that describe the conditions of urban children, track the development of “a right to childhood,” and explain programs to improve children’s health, promote juvenile justice, and prevent child labor. A final section presents children’s experiences in their own words, as they reflect on the perils and fun of their young lives. Document headnotes, a chronology, questions for consideration, and a selected bibliography help contemporary students understand why the Progressive era was so crucial in the development of ideas about the nature of childhood and government’s responsibility for child welfare.

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