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War's WasteRehabilitation in World War I America$
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Beth Linker

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780226482538

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226482552.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 17 September 2021

The Problem of the Pensioner

The Problem of the Pensioner

(p.10) One The Problem of the Pensioner
War's Waste
University of Chicago Press

This chapter addresses the story of why Progressive Era reformers wanted to overhaul the pension system and how the call for reform set into motion the eventual institutionalization of rehabilitation. The promise of rehabilitation was that it would get veterans back into the workforce, making them productive, tax-paying citizens. The Revolutionary War Pension Act of 1818 weakened the republic, creating a privileged class subsidized by taxes on the poor. The General Law and the National Home for Disabled Soldiers moved a country that was historically suspicious of consolidated federal power into a full-fledged welfare provider. The War Risk Insurance Act (WRIA) encouraged disabled soldiers coming back from the Great War to marry, have children, and become breadwinners again, working outside the home. In the minds of its framers, if rehabilitation was compulsory, then more men could be restored to the workplace, thus decreasing the costs of federal disbursements.

Keywords:   pension system, rehabilitation, institutionalization, Progressive Era reformers, Pension Act, General Law, Disabled Soldiers, WRIA

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