The New Poor Law: Goals and Motivations

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Topics: Poverty
The New Poor Law what were the Aims and Motivations

This essay is looking to explain the aims of and the motivations behind the 1834 Poor Law Amendment Act, also the links to the Emancipation Act, Malthusian and Benthamite influence on the Act. The outcome on history will not change but just maybe a clearer understanding of the reasoning behind the changes.

The first thing to look at is the amended Act itself presented by Nassau Senior and Edwin Chadwick the report took the view that people were poor and needy by either idleness or ignorance not by socioeconomic conditions, Outdoor relief for the able-bodied was to be abolished, this meant the only means of financial support for a family was to present themselves at the workhouse knowing it meant your family would be separated from each other and living in total squalor. The Bastardy clause meant that the mother had the right to relief for her child through the workhouse supposedly for them to make the father pay, this was an attempt at legal control of moral issues. The Parishes were grouped together into unions and workhouses to be established in each union, for example Cramlington was part of the Tynemouth union which went from Blyth to North Shields and Cramlington to Benton including everything in-between. The conditions in workhouses were to be made harsher than that of the lowest paid. This was the concept of ‘less eligibility’ or less attractiveness. Families were separated and lived in extremely poor conditions poor hygiene extremely poor food and received harsh treatment from governors. Poor Law Commissioners in London (the Poor Law Board) were Thomas Frankland Lewis, George Nicholls and John George Shaw Lefevre they were to supervise the scheme and maintain national standards. Which was an early attempt at national control on a local level, which could never truly work at that time. The Poor Law Amendment Act passed through Parliament with large majorities and very little opposition, The Times



Bibliography: Beales, H.L. ‘The New Poor Law’, History (London,1930Higginbotham, P., The Workhouse: the story of an institution…(2013) http://www.workhouses.org.uk/poorlaws/newpoorlaw. Downloaded 05.05.2013. Bentham, J., “Government is Evil”, Cromwell, V., Revolution or Evolution: British Government in the Nineteenth Century. (London, 1977),.p 10. Nutt, T., ‘Illegitimacy, Paternal Financial responsibility, and the 1834 Poor Law Commission Report: the myth of the old poor law and the making of the new’, The Economic History Review. Vol. 63, No. 2 (2010). Higginbotham, P., The Workhouse: the story of an institution…(2013) http://www.workhouses.org.uk/map/north. Downloaded 05.05.2013. Thompson, E. P.,The Making of the English Working Class (New York, 1966). Cromwell, V., Revolution or Evolution: British Government in the Nineteenth Century. (London, 1977). Poynter, J. R., Society And Pauperism: English ideas on Poor Relief, 1795 – 1834 (London, 1963). Clark, A., ‘The New Poor Law and the Breadwinner Wage: Contrasting Assumptions’ Scruton, R., A Dictionary of Political Thought (London, 1996) Feinstien Mandler, P. "Lamb, William, Second Viscount Melbourne (1779–1848)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, Sept 2004; online edn, Jan 2008, accessed 5th May 2013 Fraser, D., The Evolution of the British Welfare State (London Beales, H.L. ‘The New Poor Law’, History (London,1930) -------------------------------------------- [ 4 ]. E.P. Thompson, ’The Making of the English Working Class’ New York, 1966. [ 5 ]. D, Fraser. ‘The Evolution of the British Welfare State”, London. 1973. Pp. 45-46 [ 6 ] [ 11 ]. P. Mandler, "Lamb, William, Second Viscount Melbourne (1779–1848)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, Sept 2004; online edn, Jan 2008, accessed 5th May 2013 [ 12 ] [ 13 ]. E.P. Thompson, ’The Making of the English Working Class’ New York, 1966. PP. 219-221. [ 15 ]. R. Scruton, ‘A Dictionary of Political Thought’. London, 1996. P. 43. [ 20 ]. E.P. Thompson, ’The Making of the English Working Class’ New York, 1966. P.82 [ 21 ] [ 22 ]. J.R. Poynter, ‘Society And Pauperism: English ideas on Poor Relief, 1795 – 1834’ London. 1963. P. 326.

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