Essays academic service


Welfare policy extant in the early 19th century

  1. I have long thought it a great Defect in the Management of the common Workhouses, that all Descriptions of poor Persons should be sent thither; where, for the most Part, they are very ill accommodated. After introducing what historians have referred to as the "mixed economy of welfare" an approach developed in Geoffrey Finlayson's Citizen, State, and Social Welfare in Britain, 1830-1990 [1994] , Kidd has three main chapters on the poor law, philanthropy, and working-class self-help, arranged in order of increasing importance.
  2. The Commission instructed that parishes formed into unions, ideally around a market town or city, with the bulk of welfare provided to the poor within a central workhouse. It will conclude with ideas about the principles which have since evolved to regulate the working and nonworking poor.
  3. Ottaway, The Decline of Life. Second, places which were under the Act may not have returned these details to Parliament.
  4. I then explain why welfare under the Act has thus far been neglected and how it has gained the reputation, in a few studies which do exist, as a contested welfare setting. Back to 47 R.
  5. The weekly rate negotiated between the Board and contractors varied year-on-year. The conclusion will outline further research questions.

The Solidarities of Strangers: Cambridge and New York: Recent studies of social welfare have challenged some of the most enduring notions of the Victorian poor. Much of the earlier scholarship on British welfare tended to adopt a Whiggish, teleological approach in which nineteenth-century poor laws were viewed as the unmerciful precedents to the beneficent post-1945 welfare state. As Lynn Hollen Lees writes, "the poor laws have taken on the role of the ugly stepmother who oppressed her virtuous, needy children until the good fairy of the welfare state banished her forever" 7.

  • The able-bodied were only to be offered temporary shelter and instead were to be found employment and provided with outdoor relief;
  • The able-bodied were only to be offered temporary shelter and instead were to be found employment and provided with outdoor relief;
  • The contractors were to be allowed to keep any profit from the labour of the residents;
  • Educating the young was thought to be a way of preventing them from being a future burden on the poor rates;
  • Back to 35 W.

Recent scholarship on social welfare has not only amended this narrative, but also expanded its focus, moving from the previously narrow concentration on state poor law policy and administration to include other forms of private welfare. Both of the books under review—the general survey by Alan Kidd and Lees's monograph on the poor laws—admirably represent these new trends.

They avoid reducing the history of welfare to a narrative of victims and villains, in which the twentieth-century welfare state represents a clear mark of progress over the past, and focus instead on revealing the complexities and ambiguities of Victorian social welfare. Kidd's study—part of Macmillan's Social History in Perspective series—surveys the main types of welfare available to the poor in nineteenth-century England.

The work, primarily written for a student audience, focuses on welfare policies and programs rather [End Page 336] than practices or outcomes. The great strength of State, Society and the Poor in Nineteenth- Century England lies in its argument that charities and mutual aid organizations were even more important than state aid in providing relief to the poor.

This remained the case, according to Kidd, until the First World War shifted the balance in favor of state welfare programs.

  1. From the late-eighteenth century to the early-nineteenth, changes in agricultural production, urbanization, and population, as well as the strains of the Napoleonic wars, prompted a shift in social relationships from what E.
  2. In Alverstoke in 1820 a few children and several men were accused of breaking into the carpentry shed and stealing the tools. Due to the semi-autonomous powers of the vestry, a wide spectrum of locally-determined policies could have been linked to early parish workhouses.
  3. Consequently, the Act is always purported to have had a limited uptake.
  4. As Lynn Hollen Lees writes, "the poor laws have taken on the role of the ugly stepmother who oppressed her virtuous, needy children until the good fairy of the welfare state banished her forever" 7.
  5. About 400 lengthy signed articles with bibliographies on topics felt to be of particular relevance of social work, as well as 200 brief biographies of key figures in the history of social work.

After introducing what historians have referred to as the "mixed economy of welfare" an approach developed in Geoffrey Finlayson's Citizen, State, and Social Welfare in Britain, 1830-1990 [1994]Kidd has three main chapters on the poor law, philanthropy, and working-class self-help, arranged in order of increasing importance.

In addition to highlighting the significance of non-state services, Kidd notes that the lines between state and charitable aid were often much less clear than we tend to think. For example, late-nineteenth-century state officials often worked with major voluntary organizations such as the Charity Organization Society and the Salvation Army.

History in Focus

The history of welfare developed by Kidd is thus multi-layered and truer to the perspective of the poor, who cobbled together a variety of welfare services ranging from poor law relief and middle-class charities to friendly societies, trade unions, burial insurance groups, savings banks, neighbors, family, and the local pawn shop.

Kidd's analysis of the intellectual roots of welfare systems also demonstrates impressive clarity and subtlety.

From the late-eighteenth century to the early-nineteenth, changes in agricultural production, urbanization, and population, as well as the strains of the Napoleonic wars, prompted a shift in social relationships from what E.

Thompson first termed a "moral economy" to values shaped by the market economy. Older attitudes toward welfare, such as the Elizabethan poor laws and eighteenth-century habits of making charitable donations with limited direct moral supervision of the recipients, became suspect as policy makers began to think that traditional forms of welfare heightened rather than alleviated poverty by acting against laws of supply and demand.

  • Back to 13 R;
  • The Alverstoke Board managed to juggle these potentially conflicting aims, even showing what thought was compassion towards their poor;
  • Back to 35 W;
  • Did the Commission manage to interfere in their welfare regimes, making them adopt principles and policies akin to those implemented in New Poor Law unions?
  • Much of the earlier scholarship on British welfare tended to adopt a Whiggish, teleological approach in which nineteenth-century poor laws were viewed as the unmerciful precedents to the beneficent post-1945 welfare state.

Kidd links the ideas of Jeremy Bentham. If you would like to authenticate using a different subscribed institution that supports Shibboleth authentication or have your own login and password to Project MUSE, click 'Authenticate'.

You are not currently authenticated. View freely available titles: