Poor law amendment act 1834 essay

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Poor law amendment act 1834 essay

The first was less eligibility: The other was the "workhouse test": Migration of rural poor to the city to find work was a problem for urban ratepayers Poor law amendment act 1834 essay this system, since it raised their poor rates. Poor people coming to a workhouse for food, c.

There was little practical experience to support it; only four of the parishes reporting had entirely abolished out-relief, and their problem cases could well have simply been displaced to neighbouring parishes.

Their purpose being to securely confine large numbers of the lower classes at low cost, they not unnaturally looked much like prisons. The new system would be undermined if different unions treated their paupers differently; there should therefore be a central board with powers to specify standards and to enforce those standards; this could not be done directly by Parliament because of the legislative workload that would ensue.

Mothers of illegitimate children should receive much less support; poor-law authorities should no longer attempt to identify the fathers of illegitimate children and recover the costs of child support from them.

It was argued that penalising fathers of illegitimate children reinforced pressures for the parents of children conceived out of wedlock to marry, and generous payments for illegitimate children indemnified the mother against failure to marry.

This pressure explained the existence of poverty, which he justified theologically as a force for self-improvement and abstention. He saw any assistance to the poor—such as given by the old poor laws—as self-defeating, temporarily removing the pressure of want from the poor while leaving them free to increase their families, thus leading to greater number of people in want and an apparently greater need for relief.

His views were influential and hotly debated without always being understood, and opposition to the old Poor Law which peaked between and was described by both sides as " Malthusian ". This idea of utilitarianism underpinned the Poor Law Amendment Act.

Bentham believed that "the greatest good for the greatest number" could only be achieved when wages found their true levels in a free-market system. Chadwick believed that the poor rate would reach its "correct" level when the workhouse was seen as a deterrent and fewer people claimed relief.

A central authority was needed to ensure a uniform poor law regime for all parishes and to ensure that that regime deterred applications for relief; that is, to ensure a free market for labour required greater state intervention in poor relief.


Local poor-rates payers still elected their local Board of Poor Law Guardians and still paid for local poor law provisions, but those provisions could be specified to the Board of Guardians by the Poor Law Commission; where they were, the views of the local rate-payers were irrelevant.

The principles upon which the Commission was to base its regulations were not specified.

Poor law amendment act 1834 essay

The workhouse test and the idea of "less eligibility" were therefore never mentioned. The Poor Law Commission was independent of Parliament, but conversely, since none of its members sat in Parliament, [9]: It was recognised that individual parishes would not have the means to erect or maintain workhouses suitable for implementing the policies of "no outdoor relief" and segregation and confinement of paupers; consequently, the Commission was given powers to order the formation of Poor Law Unions confederations of parishes large enough to support a workhouse.

That from and after the passing of this Act the Administration of Relief to the Poor throughout England and Wales, according to the existing Laws, or such Laws as shall be in force at the Time being, shall be subject to the Direction and Control of the said Commissioners; and for executing the Powers given to them by this Act the said Commissioners shall and are hereby authorized and required, from Time to Time as they shall see Occasion, to make and Issue all such Rules, Orders, and Regulations for the Management of the Poor, for the Government of Workhouses and the Education of the Children therein, Provided always, that nothing in this Act contained shall be construed as enabling the said Commissioners or any of them to interfere in any individual Case for the Purpose of ordering Relief.

George Boyer, Cornell University

Therefore, there was no provision for Parliamentary scrutiny of policy changes e. Poor Law Unions were to be the necessary administrative unit for the civil registration of births, marriages and deaths introduced in The Act did give paupers some rights. Lunatics could not be held in a workhouse for more than a fortnight; [9]: Implementation of the New Poor Law administrative arrangements was phased in, starting with the Southern counties whose problems the Act had been designed to address.

There was a gratifying reduction in poor-rates, but also horror tales of paupers ill-treated or relief refused. Some paupers were induced to migrate from the Southern to Northern towns, leading to a suspicion in the North that the New Poor Law was intended to drive wages down.

Bywhen roll-out of the new arrangements reached the textile districts of Lancashire and Yorkshire, trade was in recession. The usual response to this was for hours of work to be reduced, with pay reducing correspondingly and out-door relief being given to those who could not make ends meet on short-time earnings.

This was clearly incompatible with a policy of "no out-door relief", and, despite assurances from the Poor Law Commission that there was no intention to apply that policy in the textile districts, they were not believed and a number of textile towns resisted or rioted in response to efforts to introduce the new arrangements.

This resistance was eventually overcome, but outdoor relief was never abolished in many Northern districts, although the possibility existed. Policy officially changed after the passing of the Outdoor Labour Test Orderwhich "allowed" outdoor relief.

Problems with the Poor Law Amendment Act[ edit ] AfterPoor Law policy aimed to transfer unemployed rural workers to urban areas where there was work, and protect urban ratepayers from paying too much.

It was impossible to achieve both these aims, as the principle of less eligibility made people search for work in towns and cities.

Workhouses were built and paupers transferred to these urban areas.

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However, the Settlement Laws were used to protect ratepayers from paying too much. Workhouse construction and the amalgamation of unions was slow.There were many arguments raised about the poor law amendment act of , this Act was thought to be the most contentious piece of legislation passed during the era of the Whig's 8 / Salic law.

Free Essay: 1. Explain why the New Poor Law Amendment Act () was so controversial. There were many arguments raised about the poor law amendment act of. Poor law amendment act essays. Category: Poor law amendment act essays. Cause and effect essay on lung cancer essay about financial inclusion index identity theme essay writing opinion essay why we eat turkey on thanksgiving lights on lights off argument essay lake description essay senso film analysis essay research paper leadership.

Poor Law Opposition.

Poor law amendment act 1834 essay

The Poor Law Commission of concluded that charitable relief to the able-bodied would lessen the will to work; and the resulting Poor Law Amendment Act of , requiring the accommodation of the poor in Poor Law Union workhouses, . Opposition to the Poor Law Amendment Act. The radical MP William Cobbett voted against the Act, asserting that the poor had an automatic right to relief and that the Act aimed to "enrich the landowner" at the expense of the poor.

This principle was adopted under the Poor Law Amendment Act. A refuge for the destitute that was maintained by charitable donations In , the first official workhouse returns were made showing the existence of about 2, workhouses, each with between 20 and 50 inmates.

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