President Lyndon B. Johnson signing the Medicare Bill at the Harry S. Truman Library in Independence, Missouri, with President Truman seated next to him. Twenty years earlier, President Truman proposed his idea for nationwide health care.
The Infirmary, Dispensary and Lunatic Asylum, Manchester.
Working-class parents in America, for their part, lack the wherewithal to engage in such intensive parenting. As a result, social divisions from one generation to the next are set to widen. Not so long ago the “American dream” held out the prospect that everyone, however humble their background, could succeed if they tried hard enough. But a recent report by the World Bank showed that intergenerational social mobility (the chance that the next generation will end up in a different social class from the previous one) in the land of dreams is now among the lowest in all rich countries. And that is before many of the social effects of the new parenting gap have had time to show up yet.
The church is responsible for a litany of injustices — and today Christian rhetoric is used to defend a violent neoliberal capitalism. But the glorious tradition of liberation theology can’t be forgotten.
Cartoon by Lewis Hine, circa 1912
In 1940s North Carolina, a Communist-led union of tobacco workers fought to bring democracy to the Jim Crow South. Above: An R. J. Reynolds supervisor watches workers during a 1947 strike by Local 22.
Thomas Paine, the great American revolutionary, proposed the world’s first realistic plan to abolish poverty. What he devised were universal social insurance and stakeholder grants, outlined in the 1797 pamphlet Agrarian Justice. Above: Portrait of Paine, by Laurent Dabos, c. 1791
Moral thinking about debt has fluctuated throughout U.S. history. Today’s calls for cancellation suggest it may be poised for transformation once again. Above: An American man being released from debtors’ prison.
Fiona with her boyfriend, Raymond, in the 1980s. They were both heroin users. Raymond later died of Aids