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The American LeftIts Impact on Politics and Society since 1900$
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Rhodri Jeffreys-Jones

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780748668878

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748668878.001.0001

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The Socialist Origins of Social Security

The Socialist Origins of Social Security

(p.15) Chapter 2 The Socialist Origins of Social Security
The American Left

Rhodri Jeffreys-Jones

Edinburgh University Press

Following the Los Angeles Times bombing of 1910, the federal government established a Commission on Industrial Relations with a view to reducing class tensions. The Research Division of the Commission operated under the guidance of the University of Wisconsin Christian socialist scholar, John. R. Commons. His protégé Selig Perlman attacked employers’ welfare schemes as merely prophylactic. He drafted a blueprint for an American welfare state, with social security provision in the areas of old age pensions, unemployment insurance and medical insurance. Perlman later became an anti-socialist, helping to obliterate memory of his earlier achievement.

Keywords:   Commission on Industrial Relations, John R. Commons, Los Angeles Times bombing, Selig Perlman, social security

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