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Fighting Poverty with Virtue: Moral Reform and America's Urban Poor, 1825-2000
Fighting Poverty with VirtueMoral Reform and America’s Urban Poor, 18252000Joel SchwartzThe emergence, decline, and resurgence of moral reform in addressing urban poverty in theUnited States.This book is both a historical and a contemporary study of attempts to promote the self-reliance and prosperity of America’s urban poor by encouraging the practice of...
Fighting Poverty with VirtueMoral Reform and America’s Urban Poor, 18252000Joel SchwartzThe emergence, decline, and resurgence of moral reform in addressing urban poverty in theUnited States.This book is both a historical and a contemporary study of attempts to promote the self-reliance and prosperity of America’s urban poor by encouraging the practice of familiar virtues such as diligence, sobriety, thrift, and familial responsibility. In Part One Joel Schwartz considers the efforts of four 19th-century moral reformers who expounded this strategy—Joseph Tuckerman, Robert M. Hartley, Charles Loring Brace, and Josephine Shaw Lowell. Schwartz examines what they did (and why they did it), the obstacles they faced, their successes and failures in confronting them. Part Two describes the 20th-century critique of moral reform. Drawing from the work of figures such as Jane Addams, Walter Rauschenbusch, and Frances Fox Piven, Schwartz traces the rise of a belief that the virtues promoted by the moral reformers were individualistic and "bourgeois," hence inapplicable to the lives of the poor. Part Three assesses African Americans’ historical commitment to the virtues of the moral reformers, which are apparent in the writings of figures as divergent as Booker T. Washington, W. E. B. Dubois, and Malcolm X. Moving to the present, the author discusses the renewed commitment to a self-help strategy for fighting poverty evident in the widespread interest in the work of faith-based charities and in recent shifts in public policy. He concludes by assessing the reasons to be hopeful, but also to be skeptical, of the success of that strategy.Joel Schwartz is a program officer in the Division of Research Programs at the National Endowment for the Humanities and a contributing editor of Philanthropy. In addition to teaching political science at the universities of Michigan, Toronto, and Virginia, he has served as executive editor of The Public Interest, visiting research associate at the Statistical Assessment Service, and research fellow at the Hudson Institute in Washington, DC. He has published widely in political philosophy and public policy.ContentsIntroduction: What Moral Reform Is, and Why It’s ImportantPart One: Moral Reform in the Past Principles and Intentions: Why Moral Reform Was Undertaken The Virtues Taught by the Moral ReformersWhy Moral Reform Was Hard to AchievePart Two: The Critique and Rejection of Moral ReformThe Decline of Laissez-Faire and the Critique of Moral ReformThe Rejection of Moral ReformAfrican Americans, Irish Americans, and Moral Reform: Historical ConsiderationsThe Contemporary Climate for Moral ReformThe Contemporary Practice of Moral Reform Urban Ministries, Public Policy, and the Promotion of Virtue
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