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Rough CountryHow Texas Became America's Most Powerful Bible-Belt State$
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Robert Wuthnow

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780691159898

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691159898.001.0001

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A Load Too Heavy

A Load Too Heavy

Religion and the Debate over Government Relief

(p.196) Chapter 6 A Load Too Heavy
Rough Country

Robert Wuthnow

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines how a state that was once favorable to the federal welfare system became so antagonistic to big government a half century later. It argues that although Texas benefited from and supported the New Deal, it did so with considerable misgiving. One of the principal reasons for this resistance was religion, especially religion that emphasized individual self-sufficiency and was with relatively few exceptions staunchly in favor of a clear separation of church and state. That meant concern not only about government intrusion into the affairs of religion but also about it staying out of the lives of religious people. Besides religious organizations themselves, strong private charity agencies existed as well. The religious and charitable organizations were unable to deal with the social needs that increased so dramatically during the Depression, but they played a strong hand in stating how social welfare should be understood. Those inclinations were to surface again with strong political implications at the end of the twentieth century.

Keywords:   Great Depression, Texas, New Deal, religion, federal welfare system, secularism

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