A brief history of welfare entitlements


After the final battle of the American War for Independence, at Yorktown, our troops defeated the most powerful military in the world – the British army.  As they retreated to their ships, and passed the victorious Americans, the British band played “The World Turned Upside Down.”

Upon gazing at the ragged farmers, free blacks and militiamen who had worked together to defeat his troops, one British officer reportedly commented:

“It was as if we were looking at a new type of men.”

This was a very astute observation.  Because in effect, that officer, and the world, were looking at a new type of people: individuals who, together, threw off the belief that they should be dependent on others for their safety and survival.  While it would take another eighty years for America to settle the contradiction of black slavery in America, our Founders paved the way for the day when all people could enjoy freedom and self-reliance.

So how did we get from from being a nation of proud, independent people – who built the most powerful economic engine in world history – to a nation in which half of us are dependent on the government for some or all of their income?  How did we get from that magnificent state, the envy of the world, to one in which many people have never discovered the virtue of self-reliance?  In which our children are taught that they don’t need to work for their food, housing, education, healthcare, or job training, because they’re told everyone is “entitled” to receive these values at public expense?

[This section will provide the newcomer with a crash course in the history of welfare entitlements, and why they are a complete contradiction to the American virtues of independence and self-reliance.  It will also discuss the history of mutual-aid societies, which provided lessons in self-reliance, in addition to providing necessary aid.]