The welfare system began as a local' program. "When and where public relief was needed, it was left up to state and local officials to provide it."" Each town made up their own set of rules and regulations concerning who would be helped. "By the early 1900's, a number of states were requiring cities and countries to offer some assistance to their neediest- (Weiss, 1990, p. 34).
Because each town was responsible for their own poor, rules were often made to dissuade would-be users of the assistance programs. "Local authorities were clever about reducing the welfare price tag with strategies designed to discourage people from applying for relief. One popular tactic, used widely until the mid-twentieth century, was to list welfare recipients by name in the town's annual written report- (Weiss, 1990, p. 35). Given today's confidentiality policies, this would not be tolerated. Applicants and recipients are granted a great deal of privacy, protecting them from the public humiliation that was popular in historical times.
During, and following, the Great Depression, President Hoover was against a federally funded welfare programs. "Hoover was convinced that socialistic' welfare programs would wreck what remained of the nations' economy- (Weiss, 1990, p. 38).
However, the American people were ready and willing to make a change. During his election campaign, President Roosevelt proposed his creation known as the New Deal. This program "succeeded in relieving suffering and giving the nation renewed hope."" Job programs were created and millions of people were placed in these programs. While Roosevelt enjoyed the success of his idea, "he was uncomfortable with the thought that his programs might prove to be the first step toward U.S. adoption of federal welfare on a broad and permanent basis- (Weiss, 1990, p. 41).
Hoping to turn the tide back to a self-sufficient country, President Roosevelt brought up this concern to Congress in 1935.