WAS THE ROYAL COMMISSION OF 1832-1834 THE MOST IMPORTANT INFLUENCE ON THE TERMS OF THE NEW POOR LAW OF 1834? EXPLAIN YOUR ANSWER
Since the beginning of the 17th century a system of poor relief had been established to provide support for the poor. Although the coordination of relief was different in each parish the principles underpinning the law were the same, stating that each parish should take responsibility for the care of their own poor. Up till 1834 the law had been amended several times but only to provide greater efficiency. However by the early 1830’s the escalating cost of poor relief and the operation of the Old Poor Law led to many criticisms and pressure to change the system. The system was seen to be outdated in view of the changing economic, political and social changes taking place. Although various factors such as the Swing Riots and post Napoleonic war distress played a crucial role In shaping the terms of the New Poor Law it was the work and determination of the Royal Commission to change the system, which put the greatest pressure on the Whig government to amend the law. However it should be taken into account that the Royal Commission did not merely act on its own accord but rather influences from the various factors allowed the Commission to carry out its work. Some of the major influence will be outlined below.
The first public suggestions that the Old Poor Law was outdated and needed changing was not
because of impact of systems or did not come from groups of people but rather from influential
individuals who felt that the old system was the cause of poverty. One of the most famous
radical philosopher of the time Jeremy Bentham felt that his principle of Utilitarianism “the