In the 1960s, the Supreme Court banned prayer and Bible readings in the public schools and, in 1973, ruled that abortion was legal during the first trimester of pregnancy. Religious conservatives were dismayed by these rulings and also upset by the women’s rights movement and by the counter-culture movement, with its emphasis on drugs and sexual liberation. A political fault line emerged—secularists and the more liberal religious denominations on one side of the culture debate and the more conservative religious denominations on the other side.
Watch Professor Patterson’s Videos on Social Issues in this unit (Unit 14). Next, contrast the Republican and Democratic strategies since the 1960s in regard to the religious issue.
Social Policy – Welfare and Income issues
Few issues of U.S. politics are more contentious than those relating to welfare and income. America’s individualistic culture and federal system of government have resulted in welfare policies that are distinct from those of virtually all other Western democracies. As regards income policy, the issue has come to the forefront in recent years as a result of the widening gap between the income level of most Americans and that of the country’s wealthiest individuals.
This first part of this unit will describe and explain these developments, relating them to U.S. policy and the structure of the U.S. economy. The history of government programs designed to help the poor, as well as the structure and politics of the U.S. welfare system and the U.S. tax system will be points of emphasis.
Social Policy – Social Issues