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The Six Periods of Policy Change in Social Welfare

The Six Periods of Policy Change in Social Welfare

Colonial Period

The British government enforced the Navigation Acts on the American colonies during the 17th and 18th centuries. These laws restricted some exports to England and mandated that all items be transported aboard British ships, regulating colonial trade. The regulations restricted American colonists’ access to economic possibilities, stifled trade, and fueled animosity toward British rule. The American Revolution ultimately resulted in the United States gaining its independence; hence, the Navigation Acts are no longer in effect.

Gilded Age

The first significant federal regulation of economic activity in the United States dates back to the Interstate Commerce Act of 1887. This law was intended to control railroad rates and stop unfair interstate business practices. The act created the Interstate Commerce Commission, the first federal regulatory body. Even though the Interstate Commerce Act is no longer in force, its creation set the stage for future federal regulation and growth in governmental economic interference.

The Progressive Period

In reaction to public outrage about improper food labeling and unhygienic food processing, the Pure Food and Drug Act was passed in 1906. Through restrictions on the sale and labeling of food and medications, the act sought to protect consumers. The Pure Food and Drug Act established the framework for consumer protection laws and significantly influences product safety rules and labeling specifications even now (Bailey, 2018). Do you need help on your assignment?

The Great Depression

An essential piece of legislation that created a safety net for the aged, unemployed, and crippled was the Social Security Act of 1935 (Aizer et al., 2022). It established the Social Security system, which produced a pension plan for workers who had reached retirement age, unemployment insurance, and assistance for mothers and children who were dependent. Millions of Americans rely on Social Security to support them financially and to give them security as they age. Social Security is still in operation today.

Great Society and Early 1970s

The fight for racial equality in the US was led by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The Voting Rights Act attempted to remove obstacles preventing African Americans from voting, while the Civil Rights Act forbade discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. These laws attempted to combat systemic racial discrimination while substantially advancing civil rights. Although there are still issues, these policies have significantly promoted equal rights and opportunities for all Americans.

Conservative Counterrevolution

The Reagan administration made a significant policy shift with the Tax Reform Act of 1986, which aimed to streamline the tax code by closing loopholes and lowering tax rates for both people and companies. The measure aimed to encourage economic growth by lowering taxes and promoting investment. Even though some of the exact rules have changed since then, the general ideas of tax simplification and reform are still being discussed and changed in today’s political conversation. A dramatic move towards supply-side economics and an emphasis on minimizing the role of government in the economy were the results of the Tax Reform Act of 1986.


Aizer, A., Hoynes, H., & Lleras-Muney, A. (2022). Children and the US Social Safety Net: Balancing disincentives for adults and benefits for children. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 36(2), 149–174.

Bailey, R. L. (2018). Current regulatory guidelines and resources to support research of dietary supplements in the United States. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 60(2), 298–309.


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The author identifies 6 periods of policy change. Identify one key policy from each of the 6 periods.

The Six Periods of Policy Change in Social Welfare

The Six Periods of Policy Change in Social Welfare

In 2-3 sentences per each policy, summarize the policy and what the policy

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