Margaret O’Mara

Academic Historian

Margaret O’Mara is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Washington.  Specializing in twentieth century urban and political history, her research investigates the changing shape of postindustrial metropolitan landscapes and the experiences of the people who live in them.  She is the author of Cities of Knowledge: Cold War Science and the Search for the Next Silicon Valley (Princeton, Princeton University Press, 2005) and is writing a second book about the changing definition of work and productive spaces in twentieth century America.  She received her MA/PhD from the University of Pennsylvania and her BA from Northwestern University.  From 1993 to 1997 she was a political appointee in the Clinton Administration, working on urban policy and health care issues as well as welfare reform.

Welfare As We Knew It: The 1996 Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act

On August 22, 1996, President Bill Clinton signed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act which ushered in the most sweeping changes in the welfare system since its adoption as part of the Social Security Act of 1935. In the following account, former White House … Read MoreWelfare As We Knew It: The 1996 Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act