The last decade of the 19th century and the years prior to World War I was an exciting and fruitful period in United States history. It was a time of unrest, but characterized by vigorous discontent, not cynicism or despair. There was an aggressive optimism that fostered confidence in social action, even to the belief that poverty could be abolished. The failure to achieve that goal remains our burden today, but to have begun the struggle then was a significant step. It was the developing profession of social work that initiated that battle against poverty.

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