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Poverty and the British State 1850-50

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Introduction

Poverty and the British State 1850-50 13th Jan 2003 a) Source 1 is a pamphlet attacking the Poor Law Amendment Act and the work of the Whig government which made the amendment act legislation in 1834. It shows healthy people entering a machine and coming out looking really weak. This is actually representing paupers entering the workhouse where they are treated harshly and when and if they come out are really weak. This is a result of the less eligibility principle which includes nasty meals and hard labour. There is the image of a matron or guardian who is questioning the pauper before entering the workhouse since it was their job to administer the poor relief to the truly destitute. According to the Poor law amendment act of 1834 the only way to obtain poor relief was to enter a workhouse(indoor relief). Where conditions would be less eligible and the poorest would prefer to remain outside. The workhouse is being compared to a prison so conditions inside the workhouse must be similar to a prison. 'Bastille' this was the French prison which was attacked in the early part of the revolution. The old, infirm, able-bodied were to enter a workhouse to be relieved. b) Edwin Chadwick was a law graduate. He was one of the poor law commissioner who was assigned to produce a report on the working of the old poor law and suggestions for improvements. ...read more.

Middle

or the other by the commissioners to fit the interpretation they want to give but then again commissioners were members of government and we would expect them to be thrust worthy. A problem with this source is that we don't know how typical it is of all other workhouse inmates committing these crimes and these many. The results were published in a political paper and the findings must have been an accurate representation of most of the workhouse plus we would expect the information to be accurate and trustworthy. The source has its limitations but is still useful to some extend because it gives figures which must have been calculated plus we know from our own knowledge that people did run away from workhouses and did commit all the crimes mentioned in the source. By this we can assume that the conditions were really harsh and working under the less eligibility principle.We don't know to what extend these findings are reliable because there are still a high number of offences but he whole point of an amendment act was to improve the morals of people and reduce bad habits. The source is limited in utility and gives no more information apart from workhouse crimes and more information is required. Source 2 is a report written by an assistant commissioner in 1841. ...read more.

Conclusion

The extend to which these factors were carried out various from time and place. Source 5 mentions that the ' time and area' varied in implementing these factors of the act. In the northern industrial areas opposition was high. Since the trade was fluctuating and employment was cyclical for only short and temporary they believed that the new poor law did not apply to them. The fact that many town in the industrial areas had changed their poor relief before the 1834 act in order to make it cost efficient believed that that the 1834 act did not apply to them. The commissioners evidence as also based on the north and again did not really apply to he North. The act was prevented in many industrial areas till about 1848. The jps and magistrates apposed the centralisation tendency and believed that the government was interfering in local matters. Many board of guardians were the overseers of the old poor law and did not cooperate with the commissioners. As a result outdoor relief was still given in many areas and the guardians implemented poor law according to the needs of the locally. However the commissioners did a good job as the aim was to reduce cost which was reduced. The parishes were also incorporated in to unions. The new poor law up to some extend was able to implement deterrence and human relief. ?? ?? ?? ?? Misbah Shahid ...read more.

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