Declarations of Dependency

The Civic Republican Tradition in U.S. Poverty Policy

By Alan F. Zundel

Subjects: American History
Paperback : 9780791447222, 178 pages, October 2000
Hardcover : 9780791447215, 178 pages, October 2000

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Table of contents


1. Introduction: Policy Analysis and Ethical Traditions

2. Dependence and Independence in the Nineteenth Century

3. Homeownership for the Poor

4. Welfare and Work

5. Capital Assets and the Poor

6. Conclusion: Independence in a Postindustrial Economy


Presents an original and provocative argument about poverty policy in the United States.


Why has poverty in the United States been so controversial? Why do political discussions of poverty seem to continually rely on the same set of ideas? This book shows that answers to these questions can be found in the political tradition of civic republicanism that made sense in America's agricultural era but which fail to correspond with the realities of modern economic conditions. Three policy areas: homeownership for the poor, cash-aid programs, and policies to help the poor become owners of productive assets are examined, followed by Zundel's ideas for designing poverty policy for the new millennium.

Alan F. Zundel is Assistant Professor at the Institute for Ethics and Policy Studies, Department of Political Science, University of Nevada–Las Vegas.


"Declarations of Dependency presents a compelling history of civic republicanism's pervasive influence on poverty policy and underlines the importance of political viability within anti–poverty strategies. " — Journal of Children & Poverty

"This book is potentially ground-breaking and could help re-orient public policy regarding poverty in a way that would lead to the adoption of more humane as well as more realistic policies designed to help the poor" — L. Peter Schultz, author of Governing America

". ..interesting and insightful. many ways. ..provocative" — Dan Durning, University of Georgia