IN THE UNITED STATES, age discrimination is generally associated with old age, but there is discrimination against youth as well. Ageism really was not evident in America until industrialization began, shortly after the Civil War. It reached its zenith when a 1907 veterans law declared that all people over age 62, regardless of their actual state of health, were disabled.

The second cause of age discrimination against the elderly was the Social Security Act of 1935. Ironically, the law was designed to help older people enjoy their “golden years” by providing them with a guaranteed, although meager, pension. Unfortunately the law had the effect of forcing many older Americans out of the labor force after age 65, a practice not made illegal until 1967 with the ...

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