Philanthropy in America: A History

Princeton University Press

American philanthropy today expands knowledge, champions social movements, defines active citizenship, influences policymaking, and addresses humanitarian crises. How did philanthropy become such a powerful and integral force in American society? Philanthropy in America is the first book to explore in depth the twentieth-century growth of this unique phenomenon. Ranging from the influential large-scale foundations established by tycoons such as John D. Rockefeller, Sr., and the mass mobilization of small donors by the Red Cross and March of Dimes, to the recent social advocacy of individuals like Bill Gates and George Soros, respected historian Olivier Zunz chronicles the tight connections between private giving and public affairs, and shows how this union has enlarged democracy and shaped history.

Zunz looks at the ways in which American philanthropy emerged not as charity work, but as an open and sometimes controversial means to foster independent investigation, problem solving, and the greater good. Andrew Carnegie supported science research and higher education, catapulting these fields to a prominent position on the world stage. In the 1950s, Howard Pew deliberately funded the young Billy Graham to counter liberal philanthropies, prefiguring the culture wars and increased philanthropic support for religious causes. And in the 1960s, the Ford Foundation supported civil rights through education, voter registration drives, and community action programs. Zunz argues that American giving allowed the country to export its ideals abroad after World War II, and he examines the federal tax policies that unified the diverse nonprofit sector.

Demonstrating that America has cultivated and relied on philanthropy more than any other country, Philanthropy in America examines how giving for the betterment of all became embedded in the fabric of the nation's civic democracy.

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About the author

Olivier Zunz is the Commonwealth Professor of History at the University of Virginia. He is the author of "Why the American Century?", "Making America Corporate", and "The Changing Face of Inequality".

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Additional Information

Publisher
Princeton University Press
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Published on
Oct 17, 2011
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Pages
396
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ISBN
9781400839414
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Americas (North, Central, South, West Indies)
History / United States / 20th Century
Social Science / Philanthropy & Charity
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This content is DRM protected.
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Olivier Zunz
En quelques décennies, de la fin du XIXe siècle aux années 1950, les États-Unis sont devenus un empire économique, une super-puissance politique et un modèle culturel. C'est l'histoire de cet essor spectaculaire, couronné par l'expression fameuse de "siècle américain", que retrace l'essai d'Olivier Zunz.
Le secret de cette performance inégalée tient à un dialogue précoce, et inédit entre chercheurs des grandes universités, hommes d'affaires imaginatifs et administrateurs éclairés des grandes fondations. L'auteur reconstitue la chronique et interroge le bilan de cette féconde collaboration. Il mesure ce que lui doivent l'émergence d'un système de consommation de masse et l'invention de l'"Américain moyen", figure emblématique des Temps modernes. Il décrit aussi les espérances un peu naïves, et bientôt déçues, que faisait naître l'expansion de l'Amérique nouvelle : le rêve d'une société apaisée, débarrassée des conflits de classe par la quête du bien-être matériel et la poursuite continuelle du bonheur individuel.
L'Amérique est bien devenue la grande puissance qu'avaient imaginée les visionnaires du siècle dernier. Mais elle n'a su éviter ni les fractures ni les déchirements qui allaient bientôt démentir l'optimisme généreux des architectes de sa réussite. Le siècle américain est l'enfant tout à la fois de leur génie et de leur imprévoyance.

Professeur à l'université de Virginie, Olivier Zunz est l'auteur de Naissance de l'Amérique industrielle (1983) et de L'Amérique en col blanc (1991).
Olivier Zunz
The years following World War II saw a huge expansion of the middle classes in the world's industrialized nations, with a significant part of the working class becoming absorbed into the middle class. Although never explicitly formalized, it was as though a new social contract called for government, business, and labor to work together to ensure greater political freedom and more broadly shared economic prosperity. For the most part, they succeeded. In Social Contracts Under Stress, eighteen experts from seven countries examine this historic transformation and look ahead to assess how the middle class might fare in the face of slowing economic growth and increasing globalization.

The first section of the book focuses on the differing experiences of Germany, Britain, France, the United States, and Japan as they became middle-class societies. The British working classes, for example, were slowest to consider themselves middle class, while in Japan by the 1960s, most workers had abandoned working-class identity. The French remain more fragmented among various middle classes and resist one homogenous entity. Part II presents compelling evidence that the rise of a huge middle class was far from inclusive or free of social friction. Some contributors discuss how the social contract reinforced long-standing prejudices toward minorities and women. In the United States, Ira Katznelson writes, Southern politicians used measures that should have promoted equality, such as the GI bill, to exclude blacks from full access to opportunity. In her review of gender and family models, Chiara Saraceno finds that Mediterranean countries have mobilized the power of the state to maintain a division of labor between men and women. The final section examines what effect globalization might have on the middle class. Leonard Schoppa's careful analysis of the relevant data shows how globalization has pushed "less skilled workers down and more skilled workers up out of a middle class that had for a few decades been home to both." Although Europe has resisted the rise of inequality more effectively than the United States or Japan, several contributors wonder how long that resistance can last.

Social Contracts Under Stress argues convincingly that keeping the middle class open and inclusive in the face of current economic pressures will require a collective will extending across countries. This book provides an invaluable guide for assessing the issues that must be considered in such an effort.

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