Dbq on the Poor of Europe (1400-1700)

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DBQ Essay

Near 50% of the population in Europe lived at a subsistence level. Due to this there were many different attitudes towards the poor in Europe from 1450-1700. Many people will have different attitudes but I will narrow it down to the Royals who tend to have negative attitudes, the Church authorities who have positive attitudes and the common folk, and show their views and responses.

Most of the negatives attitudes come from people of high government positions. One says that “Idleness is harmful to the public good and should not be tolerated. Idlers should not be considered as poor. This person also believes that people who are unwilling to work should not live in the city (Doc 5). A Spanish humanist says that those living under the subsistence level are forced to thievery, prostitution, and sorcery. He also says that people feel obligated to give the poor money but don’t, some are repelled from them, and others have the good intentions of giving to the poor but don’t due to embarrassment. Another man says that the beggars and the poor should be put in a barn on the edge of the city to be taken care of (Doc 2). Many also believe that they should be forced to work public jobs instead of living a life of begging and stealing bread from those who work for it (Doc 8). They probably said these things to win over the wealthy, which have the power to influence who gets what governmental position. Or maybe they were fed up with beggars coming to their door asking for alms. They also may have said these things to strengthen the pride within the city. If they were able to rid the city of beggars or turn them into hard workers it would show that their city was full of hard-workers and not beggars who mooch off of the wealthy.

Positive attitudes towards the poor are found mainly from church authorities. Vincent de Paul, a Catholic Priest, says that people should look after their temporal needs as well as spiritual needs by helping them in every way...
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