In 1893 America was embroiled in the worst depression in American history up to that time.
Some in Congress put forward public works bills in order to address the intense poverty and hopelessness throughout the nation. But these bills went nowhere. A Massachusetts lawmaker encapsulated the argument against government action to alleviate suffering:
“The bill was immoral, for unemployment is an act of God.”
That sentiment continues to explain certain factions moralistic attitude towards poverty, even now, 121 years later.