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Elizabethan Poor Laws - Research Paper Example

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Running head: Elizabethan Poor Laws Elizabethan Poor Laws Introduction The misfortunes of man have long been recorded and many avenues have been identified to fight them. However, the success of these strategies has been limited in some cases…
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Elizabethan Poor Laws
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Elizabethan Poor Laws

Download file to see previous pages... The main intention of these laws, however, was to offer assistance to the group of people considered to be poor or unable to fend for themselves. These laws formed the basis of the modern laws in America for aiding the poor. Based on this information, this paper will examine the advantages and disadvantages of the Elizabethan Poor laws and how they have influenced the modern laws on assisting the poor. Elizabethan Poor Law The Elizabethan poor law was divided into three sections, with the first section being the requirement that taxation be carried out on all able bodied people. The collected tax would then be used to support the poor. Since the administration of this law was left to the local areas, taxation rates were determined at the local level. The second requirement was the grouping of people. People were listed according to their vulnerabilities with three main groups including children and those who were able to work, while the last group was for the impotent who included blind people, the elderly as well as the lame (Trattner, 1998). This last group of people was unable, by all means, to fend for itself and therefore, relied on the support of others. The last requirement was that these vulnerable groups should be first catered for by the family. If this was not possible, the responsibility was passed on to the government. This law had several advantages with it. However, it also bore some disadvantages. Advantages of the Elizabethan Poor Law Decentralization The administration of the laws from the local parish meant that people were more likely to benefit from the new laws since it was easier to divide the people into the specified groups. The parish manager would know all people living in a given parish and this meant that dividing the people was not a hard task. In addition to this, the taxes to be used were to be derived from the local populace. Since the parish had already been given permission to tax a person as it saw fit, the tax rates would vary depending on the number of people who were to receive aid. The poor would, therefore, always have sufficient aid since the parish could collect enough taxes to cover the expenses. With decentralization, every poor person was assured of aid. A centralized system may have meant giving each parish a set amount of relief, which may have been inadequate given that the needs of each parish vary. Control The need to control such people may have been part of the reason that the government opted to have poor people assisted. Without food, shelter or medical access, the poor were likely to be uncontrollable. This meant that the security in parishes would deteriorate and the ruling class would be at risk of a revolution. This law enabled the government to control the poor through provision of basic supplies (Trattner, 1998). Had the government not drafted such a law, the political consequences would have been disastrous. The division of people provided by this law helped the government to ensure that all people were responsible for themselves whenever possible, thus eliminating the risk of reliance on communal deeds. Budgeting Dividing the poor into three groups was a good way of budgeting for the country and parish. The government would be able to monitor the progress of poor people and draft new measures that would ensure that poverty was alleviated. The parish would be able to budget for its needs since it would be able to know the amount of resources needed to fulfill the requirements of the parish. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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