These claims about the American past are either untrue or misleading. America has always had laws providing for the poor. The real difference between the Founders’ welfare policies and today’s is over how, not whether, government should help those in need. Neither approach has a monopoly on compassion. The question is: What policies help the poor, and what policies harm them?
Read more: http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2015/05/poverty-and-welfare-in-the-american-founding