The poor law had a profound impact on English society between the sixteenth and the eighteenth centuries. Designed to reform the poor as much as to relieve poverty, it also shaped institutions of government and determined people's expectations and assumptions about social welfare. Over the last few decades there has been a good deal of detailed research examining how the law was implemented in different regions, its influence on social attitudes and social realities, and its significance as a major burden on local government and a source of political and social concern. The English Poor Law, 1531-1782 provides a concise synthesis of past work, explaining the origins of this unique system of welfare, and showing how the poor law played a central role in English social and political development from the Reformation to the Industrial Revolution.
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(216mm x 138mm x 5mm)
Cambridge University Press
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
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