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Why were people poor in the 1500's?

Extracts from this essay...

Introduction

Why were people poor in the 1500's? In the 1500s the majority of the population was poor; they struggled to feed their family. One of the most serious problems that the government faced was how to deal with the poor. In the 1500s the population had grown very rapidly and so this had increased the demand for food. This meant that food prices became higher, but because there was plenty of people available to work their wages remained very low. The problem was made worse because many land owners had changed their usage of land from crops to sheep. In the 1500s there was about 8 million sheep to only 2.7 million people. This meant that less land was being used for crops at a time when the population was increasing.

Middle

Then they could not afford to pay their rent and would face being thrown onto the streets. Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries which had a big impact on the poor as it was the monasteries that helped to support them. Many people needed help because of illness or because they were too old to work. Also there were many that were able to work but could not find a job because of the increasing population and the land that was being used for sheep. Also, as some people were forced into begging, as they could not afford rent and found it hard to get help as some people preferred begging or pretending to ill or mad in order to get the help they wanted.

Conclusion

him to be vagrant" The poor in the sixteenth century were poor for many reasons, most importantly was the increasing population which meant there was a greater need for food which lead to an increase in prices. Increasing rents helped to keep people poor as they needed to use more of their little money to pay them, if not they faced eviction. More land owners turned from growing crops to sheep farming; this meant that there were fewer jobs available which lead to unemployment and some to begging. Land enclosure was also a problem for the poor. The government tried to help by placing harsh laws against vagabonds or people who they believed to be lazy and others forcing parishes to care for the sick and elderly people. There was very little that the poor could do to help themselves. By Claire Dougall

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