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Future and past anxieties : a look at the origins of the British welfare state through WWII

By Emily Maanum


The scope of this project focuses particularly on how members of Parliament and the media, specifically newspapers, understood the establishment of the welfare state. My use of the term “Britons” reflects political rhetoric used by MPs to illustrate unity within the public sphere and to shape the terms of debate. Their instrumentalist rhetoric was meant to unify the community, stop fascism and honor citizens. It is important to study the political rhetoric because these discussions within Parliament led to social policies and the eventual establishment of a welfare system. How MPs started early debates affected the structure of later debates and the eventual terms of the actual scheme. Within the debates, MPs stuck to a strictly British-focused narrative. There was little mention of enemies like Hitler or Mussolini and their possible relation to the welfare discussion. When discussing the economics of the welfare state there is little mention of ideas of laissez-faire. This is most likely due Britain’s movement away from ideas of laissez-faire at the turn of the century and into WWI

Topics: Welfare state, Great Britain, History, Arts and Humanities, European History, History
Publisher: UR Scholarship Repository
Year: 2018
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