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Written in clear, lively prose this highly respected book analyzes the evolution of the American welfare state from colonial times to present. Social welfare policy connects to an empowerment perspective, showing how African Americans, Latinos, women, gays and lesbians, Asian Americans, Native Americans, the elderly, poor people, and other vulnerable populations, as well as social reformers, have achieved progressive reforms through policy advocacy illustrating how a deep understanding of the past can impact present and future actions.