Catholics and Social Security

The National Conference of Catholic Charities and the Social Security Act of 1935

Broadly conceived, charity is love and kindness towards all. Practically speaking, charity is the act of providing assistance to those in need. Within these general conceptions, however, are many ideas as to what charitable action, behavior, and ideals are, as well as an accompanying range of charitable practices and institutions. Here we focus on charitable ideas and practices in a specific time and place: the United States during the Great Depression; by specific practitioners of charity: the National Conference of Catholic Charities and the U.S. Government; with respect to a particular policy and law: the Social Security Act passed in the midst of the economic disaster of the Depression, on August 14, 1935. This site offers a documentary history and supporting educational materials illuminative of the collaboration between administration and government officials and leadership figures in the National Conference of Catholic Charities.

See "Background" to begin