Retrospective on Justice and the Poor in the United States in the Twentieth Century
11 Pages Posted: 21 Dec 2007
The purpose of this essay is to review the history of legal developments in the twentieth century that affected America's poor. The twentieth century was a period of both positive developments and unfulfilled promise in the legal rights of the poor. Although progress had been made, at the end of the century there remained obstacles to fulfilling America's commitment to equal justice under law. Section I details the important social programs enacted by Congress in the last century, and comments on their varying degrees of success. Section II delineates some of the important jurisprudential developments affecting the poor in the same period. Section III notes the increasing disparity between the rich and the poor in this country, highlighting the need for increased scrutiny on the programs and law detailed in the first two sections.
Keywords: legal rights of the poor, effectiveness of social programs, wealth disparity, poverty
JEL Classification: D31, H43, H53, I38
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