By Patrick Appel
A 1936 article on the Social Security Act (it was signed into law just the year before) details the circumstances which spurred its creation:

The depression has shown a marked increase in the number of aged dependents. We find that, although older men are not often discriminated against when work slacks off in industrial plants, it is much more difficult for them to be reemployed when once off the payroll. The problem of old-age security is intensified because, while physical life is reaching further into the sixties and seventies, the economic life of the industrial worker is dropping back toward the fifties. This situation is not a product of the depression.

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