Consider the 1996 “Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act” (a more Orwellian title would be hard to conceive), the Clinton-era legislation that sought to gut welfare provision here in the US. The terms of this act should put us in mind of another act, passed in England nearly two centuries ago: the New Poor Law of 1834. The provisions of the New Poor Law are familiar to us, thanks to Charles Dickens’s depiction of its workings in Oliver Twist . When Noah Claypole famously sneers at little Oliver, calling him “Work’us” (“Workhouse”), he is implying, for 1838, precisely what we convey today when we speak disparagingly of “welfare queens.”
It is interesting to note that the Federalist papers are unique, as shown in this paper, because of the extreme amount of thought that was put into the design of the Constitution, as shown in Madison's original thought process that were penned in 51. Many, if not most, changes in institutional design, occur as the reactions of shortsighted people to what they perceive as more-or-less short-range needs. This is one reason the Constitutional Convention was a remarkable event. The Founding Fathers set out deliberately to design the form of government that would be most likely to bring about the long-range goals that they envisaged for the Republic. What is most unusual about Madison, in contrast to the other delegates, is the degree to which he thought about the principles behind the institutions he preferred. Not only did he practice the art of what nowadays is deemed institutional design, but he developed, as well, the outlines of a theory of institutional design that culminated in this essay.
For your essay, please write a response to Roosevelt’s above quote from your point of view as a young person coming of age in the twenty-first century. What do you think America’s role – both at home and abroad – as the ‘ Arsenal Of Democracy’ should be? What are the issues and emergencies ‘ as serious as war itself’ faced by individuals, communities and countries in 2017 and how should they solved or confronted? Use events from American and WWII history as your starting point, but don’t stop in the past. Use specific examples from your own experiences and/or current events to support your ideas, beliefs and convictions on what the roles and goals of the United States should be in the twenty-first century. This is NOT a research paper, and the best essays will NOT be summaries of the past 75 years of American history or foreign policy. Your essay will be judged foremost for its originality, clarity of expression, and adherence to contest theme, as well as its historical accuracy, grammar, spelling, and punctuation. Museum staff will read and evaluate all entries and select the winning essays.