Social Security Essay

2265 words - 9 pages

Social Security

Since the beginning of time there has been a longstanding tradition of the workers supporting the elderly. This was practiced during biblical times, with the children supporting their parents, and has continued to the present day. As times changed and humans developed more as a society, it became apparent that everyone should be required to support those who cannot work. The goal in mind is to provide everyone with economic security. These principles helped bring about the creation of Social Security.
The first act in which a government stepped in to provide for the needy was The English Poor Law of 1601. With this the English government recognized that the poor had to be taken care of. The law was supported through taxation, with relief given to those in need. Buildings, called almshouses, were even built in order to provide shelter for those without it. This law laid the foundations of modern day economic security. The ideology of the workers supporting the needy was brought over to America with the immigrants. Many of the new communities developed laws very similar to the English Poor Law of 1601. One of the major drawbacks to the English Poor Law of 1601 and the new laws made by Americans is that the laws discriminated against the poor. By this I mean that there was no set criteria for being poor. All the decisions on whether or not you were considered to be poor enough to receive money were made on an individual basis. Because of this many needy people did not receive the benefits they were entitled. If the individual making the decision was racist or didn’t like the person seeking money, they denied the person of the money. This attitude toward the poor continued for centuries (www.socialsecurityreform.org/).
It wasn’t until 1862 that the Federal government established a form of economic security. It was at this time that the Civil War pensions program was set up. This provided soldier, who were wounded as a result of the war, with benefits so that they could sustain a normal life. This program also provided the widows and children of slain soldiers with money. These pensions were paid out at a huge cost to the Federal government. In 1894 nearly 37 percent of the Federal budget was spent on these pensions. The cost of this program was actually lower than should have been, with confederate soldiers not receiving any of the benefits. While America was moving towards a more equal society, it had yet to realize that programs such as the Civil War pensions program could be adapted to include the entire community (www.socialsecurityreform.org/).
Social Security really became a necessity after the depression began in the late 1920’s. After President Herbert Hoover failed to address the problems of the nation, the people decided that they needed a change. The people looked towards Democratic nominee Franklin Delano Roosevelt. After being elected President Franklin Roosevelt initiated a series of programs designed to end the...

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