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Fighting Poverty With Virtue Moral Reform and America's Urban Poor, 1825-2000

by Joel Schwartz

  • ISBN: 9780253337719
  • ISBN10: 0253337712

Fighting Poverty With Virtue Moral Reform and America's Urban Poor, 1825-2000

by Joel Schwartz

  • List Price: $39.95
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Indiana Univ Pr
  • Publish date: 09/01/2000
  • ISBN: 9780253337719
  • ISBN10: 0253337712
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Description: 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. He examines what they did (and why), the obstacles they faced, and their successes and failures in confronting them. Part Two describes the 20th-century critique of moral reform. 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.
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