Creating the Welfare State in France, 1880-1940
Timothy B. Smith
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Geisteswissenschaften, Kunst, Musik / Geschichte
Smith shows that France's most important social legislation to date - providing medical insurance, maternity benefits, modest pensions, and disability benefits to millions of people - was passed in 1928 (and amended and put into practice in 1930). This law, misrepresented in textbooks as being an utter failure, covered over 50 percent of the population by 1940. Few other nations could have claimed this sort of social insurance success. As well, by 1937 the centuries-old public assistance residency requirements had been transferred from the local to the departmental (regional) level. France's success in introducing important social reforms may require us to rethink - or at least modify - the common view of interwar France as a time of utter political, economic, and social failure.