Cover: Protecting Soldiers and Mothers: The Political Origins of Social Policy in the United States, from Harvard University PressCover: Protecting Soldiers and Mothers in PAPERBACK

Protecting Soldiers and Mothers

The Political Origins of Social Policy in the United States

Add to Cart

Product Details


$42.00 • £33.95 • €38.00

ISBN 9780674717664

Publication Date: 03/15/1995


736 pages

6-3/8 x 9-1/4 inches

10 tables, 33 line illustrations

Belknap Press


A monumental study that will likely become a classic in the history of the modern welfare state.—Rosalind Rosenberg, The New York Times Book Review

Complex, richly detailed…and grounded in extensive archival research… [Skocpol] has demonstrated that the polity and political institutions do matter… [A] powerful book that will surely generate a great deal of new research and writing about the history of social provision in the United States.—Alex Keyssar, The Nation

Recognition that a kind of welfare state emerged even in America has hardly stilled the need to ask, once again, why the American variant came out so differently from those in western Europe. Skocpol’s newest book… brings to these issues as powerful and iconoclastic an intellect as the historical sciences possess. Protecting Soldiers and Mothers belongs on a shelf of social policy history classics.—Daniel T. Rodgers, Journal of Economic History

Protecting Soldiers and Mothers is doubly important because it gives us new facts to think about and new perspectives within which to think about them… Skocpol’s research is so original and thorough and her critical intelligence is so strong…that her book will become the necessary starting point for all who study the evolution of social welfare policies in the United States.—Aaron Wildavsky, Journal of Policy History

Invites readers to remember a halcyon period in women’s politics when—both in spite and because of women’s formal political exclusion—extensively organized, politically active women united around motherhood and claimed a place for women in social policy.—Gwendolyn Mink, Women’s Review of Books

Protecting Soldiers and Mothers is a landmark book. Its unified argument and wealth of detail will be of compelling interest for political scientists and historians, theorists of the welfare state, social policy-makers, and feminists… By means of searching, consistent, grounded investigation of the ways that policies are made (or are not made) in the United States—along with lively, well-informed use of comparative national data—the book ruptures the ‘inevitability’ model of welfare state development and opens the door to new and different policy making in America’s future.—Nancy Cott, Yale University

Skocpol’s book is a landmark contribution to the history and politics of American social policy. She has reclaimed a major and forgotten period that does much to explain why the American welfare state took the shape it did.—Hugh Heclo, George Mason University

Theda Skocpol’s Protecting Soldiers and Mothers will be regarded as one of the most significant books—perhaps the single most significant book—on the development of the American welfare state.—Martin Shefter, Cornell University

By demonstrating the pivotal role of women’s voluntary organizations as well as individual women leaders in constructing early twentieth century social welfare policy, Skocpol not only rewrites the history of social welfare but gender history as well.—Viviana Zelizer, Princeton University

Awards & Accolades

  • 1993 Woodrow Wilson Foundation Award, American Political Science Association
  • Co-Winner, 1993 J. David Greenstone Book Prize, Politics and History Section of the American Political Science Association
  • Co-Winner, 1993 Distinguished Contribution to Scholarship Book Award, Political Sociology Section of the American Sociological Association
  • 1993 Ralph Waldo Emerson Award, Phi Beta Kappa Society
  • 1993 Allan Sharlin Memorial Award, Social Science History Association
The Age of Addiction: How Bad Habits Became Big Business, by David T. Courtwright, from Harvard University Press

From Our Blog

Jacket, Author Unknown: The Power of Anonymity in Ancient Rome, by Tom Geue, from Harvard University Press

Who Needs an Author?

In his new book Author Unknown: The Power of Anonymity in Ancient Rome, classicist Tom Geue asks us to work with anonymity rather than against it and to appreciate the continuing power of anonymity in our own time. Here, he discusses the history—and strength—of anonymous works of literature. Back in the roaring ’20s, I. A. Richar

‘manifold glories of classical Greek and Latin’

The digital Loeb Classical Library ( extends the founding mission of James Loeb with an interconnected, fully searchable, perpetually growing virtual library of all that is important in Greek and Latin literature.