The following essay was included in a collection of papers on the origins and future of the American Social Insurance System entitled, The Quest for Security, published by the Center for the Study of the Recent History of the United States, 1982
The Herbert Hoover presented in this essay is the humanitarian concerned with planning for the long-range welfare of the people of the United States. Little has been known about the desires, hopes, and plans of Secretary of Commerce and President Hoover in the area the public has come to call social welfare. This is true even though he and several close associates later asserted that those years did in fact witness thought and action by them on behalf of payments and pensions for the unemployed and the aged. The Hoover interest, when mentioned, has been given minimum space. Never, so far as I have learned, has been any effort to place the Hoover ideas in the context of at least some of the national social welfare experience.
My interest in social welfare goes back a quarter of a century and my research on Hoover longer than that. Invited to explore this area of concern, I have tried to piece together a story that ultimately surprised me and that should be new and useful to scholars, students, and the interested and receptive part of the public. For Hoover did in fact leave a record of dreams and efforts in this humanitarian area, just as he did in so many others. Continue reading Herbert Hoover’s Planning for Unemployment and Old Age Insurance Coverage, 1921 to 1933