Since the late nineteenth century, American employers have relied on a program of welfare capitalism to deflect incursions into the workplace from the regulatory state or organized workers. Welfare capitalism encompasses social welfare benefits and health, safety, or leisure programs offered through the workplace—programs established and directed by the employer. In periods of labor upheaval and political social reform, American firms have relied on workplace social welfare as a private, managerial response to political pressure from the state and workers—particularly when workers sought to use the state to improve working conditions and guarantee economic security. Where or when employers no longer faced these threats, managers reasserted their control over the terms of work, compensation, and security. Out of this conflict emerged a public-private welfare regime, heavily tilted toward private sources and based on the exclusion of those who most needed economic assistance. Any narrative of the American welfare state, therefore, belongs within the century-long story of welfare capitalism.