The New Poor Law of 1834 Coursework Assignment - source based

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The New Poor Law of 1834 Coursework Assignment

Question 1

Study Source A. What can you learn from this source about the aims of the members of the Royal Commission?

Nassau Senior was the head of the Royal Commission into the Poor Law of 1834. He was a leading economist, so while producing the 300-page report; he would mainly be concerned with the expenses of poor relief. His main aim would be to lead an investigation into the efficiency of the old poor law. He started to mass information in 1832 with Edwin Chadwick who was an assistant commissioner and had been a journalist and lawyer previously. It took two-years to amass the information needed for the report, Chadwick also impressed the commission with the amount of information he amassed from the London and Berkshire areas.

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Nassau Senior was influenced by Jeremy Bentham who believed that individuals should be allowed to sort out their own problems. In this way, in Bentham’s view, the greatest possible number of people would gain the greatest amount of happiness. These views became known as Utilitarianism.

The commissioners put forward the suggestion that the workhouse test should be implemented. The workhouse test meant that the workhouse would be made into a sparse, foreboding and hardworking place to the outside world. The conditions would have to be worse than the lowest paid worker, so that only the truly desperate would enter ...

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