As the country moved from a dominant ideology of voluntarism towards the welfare state during the New Deal years, conflicts and compromises occurred within the social work profession that required a definition of the role the profession would assume with relation to the public sector of social welfare. The nature of the relationship that evolved between social work and government, and the accommodations made by each during the New Deal years, and particularly around the passage of the Social Security Act of 1935, are examined.

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