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Not only did the U.S. Civil War affect the country’s government—affirming federal rights over state rights and solidifying the Union—but it expanded social welfare work. Massive numbers of veterans, freed slaves, displaced families, and Southern farmers who had lost their livelihood due to the war effort needed health and housing assistance after the war.
In order to support these needs, the government established public aid (such as, the Freedmen’s Bureau and veterans’ pensions). Private agencies (such as, the Salvation Army and the Charity Organization Society) saw their start during this era. Attention was given, as well, to the idea of social work as a profession, when the first training program for social workers began in the late 1800s.
This week, you read about the post-Civil War era in the U.S., examine services for veterans, and then consider social work today when you attend a public meeting on a welfare issue.
Note: To access this week’s required library resources, please click on the link to the Course Readings List, found in the Course Materials section of your Syllabus.
Day, P. J., & Schiele, J. (2012). A new history of social welfare (7th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson Education.
Chapter 7, “The American Welfare State Begins” (pp. 189–223)
Franklin, E. (2009). The emerging needs of veterans: A call to action for the social work profession. Health & Social Work, 34(3), 163–167.
Seal, K. H., Cohen, G., Bertenthal, D., Cohen, B. E., Maguen, S., & Daley, A. (2011). Reducing barriers to mental health and social services for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans: Outcomes of an integrated primary care clinic. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 26(10), 1160–1167.
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (2016). PTSD: National Center for PTSD. Retrieved from http://www.ptsd.va.gov/public/index.asp
Moore, W. (2014, January). Wes Moore: How to talk to veterans about the war [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.ted.com/talks/wes_moore_how_to_talk_to_veterans_about_the_war
Note: The approximate length of this media piece is 14 minutes.
Discussion: Social Welfare Services for Veterans
If you were a veteran of the U.S. Civil War, you might have returned home injured, unable to work, and traumatized by what you had seen. As noted in your text, you would have survived a mortality rate of 43%–52% but would nevertheless be in economic and perhaps physical distress. What assistance would be available to you, and would that assistance be the same if you were a Union or Confederate veteran?
For this Discussion, you analyze the aid options for veterans after the U.S. Civil War and consider whether they align with the idea of social justice and with contemporary options and attitudes.
Post a response to the following:
Identify and describe two programs and/or policies developed after the U.S. Civil War for veterans.
Describe the populations served by these programs and/or policies.
Determine if these programs and/or policies promoted social justice, and explain why or why not.
Compare the programs you identified to contemporary programs or policies or to current attitudes about veteran welfare.
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