Poor Law Essay

2876 WordsMay 21, 201212 Pages
How did society's attitude change towards the poor from 1830-1914? How did the Government deal with poverty during this period? Before the 1830's people who were subject to poverty were looked upon as lazy and deserving of their situation. People of this time thought the main three causes of poverty was idealness, drunkenness and thriftiness. Factors that contributed to changes from this were help from social investigators like Booth and Rowntree, artistic contributions from Dickens and Dore and a realisation that the Boer's war impaired Britain’s national efficiency. The early 1600's brought the 'Elizabethan poor law' which was modified in 1662 'settlement act'. Also the Gilbert act was passed, he wanted to create a more humane method of support than that of the workhouse test act of 1772. The 1780's saw a rise is food prices and wages lowered and labours were hit hard and had to rely on the poor rates for survival. Gilbert finally passed an act in 1782 which made provisions for parishes to form unions so they could share the cost of looking after the elderly, the sick and the infirm through the use of “poor houses” but this excluded the able-bodied who had to rely on outdoor relief and employment near their own homes. So there was movement in provisions for the poor but not enough and many people were excluded as they weren't deemed as deserving and by giving them this relief it would be encouraging poverty. The Great Reform Act of 1832 gave the vote to the middle class and before this it was only rich and upper class people who had the vote, this gave a rise to Liberal and Conservative parties that represented them. The liberal and conservative parties with the middle-class realised that some respectable working class people should have the vote too, so this was a step in the right direction for helping deal with poverty and giving the poorer people

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