Antedating of "Welfare State"

Fred Shapiro fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU
Fri Dec 31 12:59:36 UTC 2004

welfare state (OED 1941)

1894 _Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science_
(Supplement) Mar. 83  [Johann Gottlieb Fichte's] "_Geschlossener
Handelsstaat_" (The Closed Commercial State), a philosophical sketch,
published in 1800, as an appendix to the theory of jurisprudence, and an
illustration of a contemplated work on politics, was a conscious reaction
against the political theories of his day, and combated the old idea of a
_welfare-state_* by its direct antithesis. ... * _Wohlfahrtsstaat_.  The
idea is that the State should not merely protect the persons and property
of its citizens, but should endeavor to promote their welfare by some more
positive action or interference in their behalf.  _Trans._

Fred Shapiro

Fred R. Shapiro                             Editor
Associate Librarian for Collections and     YALE DICTIONARY OF QUOTATIONS
  Access and Lecturer in Legal Research     Yale University Press,
Yale Law School                             forthcoming
e-mail: fred.shapiro at     

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