Examines the history of and contemporary state of the social welfare programs in the United States. The course examines the welfare state from legal, social, and theoretical perspectives, with major emphasis placed on the origins and enactment of, as well as the eligibility and controversies surrounding, the welfare and social insurance programs enacted in the New Deal. Among the issues presented are the efficacy of entitlement programs in general; the constitutional issues (both state and federal) which arise in the context of eligibility and fair administration (due process); work-related issues; and the social impact of entitlement programs in general. There will be a discussion of the federal welfare reforms of 1996, their implementation and effects in the states, and the spread of similar reform efforts in other countries. Students will have the option of writing a term paper (on a topic approved by the professor) or completing a take-home exam.