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Was the period 1834 1875 a period of change or continuity? Free essay! Download now

Home > A Level > History > Was the period 1834 1875 a period of change or continuity?

Was the period 1834 1875 a period of change or continuity?

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Downloads to date: N/A | Words: 1500 | Submitted: 06-Feb-2007
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The essay assesses the period 1834-1875 and evaluates whether it is a period of change or continuity, using methods, role of government, funding and attitudes towards the poor. The essay concludes, saying that the period was a period of change. However it argues that the principles of the PLAA and its aims were not changed but due to the failure of the implementation of the aims change was needed in order to rectify this.


Between the years 1830 and 1834, there had been mass pressure to review and change the current Poor Law system, which dealt with the paupers of England, as it had been becoming less and less effective with dealing with the poor largely due to the Industrial Revolution taking place. Indeed, in 1832 a Royal Commission was set up to rectify the problem and in 1834 the Poor Law Amendment Act was put in place which called for large changes to the system. However after this did change continue or was the period stable?
The methods used for dealing with the poor in the period 1834 -1875 clearly show that it was a period of change. At the beginning of the period the PLAA stated that the poor should be working in workhouses built and run by the Poor Law Unions and that outdoor relief was to be heavily discouraged and if possible eradicated. Many key events took place which changed the way in which the Poor Law dealt with the poor. For example many changes took place with the relief distribution system. This is shown when in 1842 an Outdoor Labour Test was set up, in order to placate the social unrest in the North, which offered some outdoor relief to able-bodied male paupers who passed the test. This showed change from the PLAA as it allowed for some outdoor relief which was heavily discouraged in the PLAA. Similarly, contradicting this, in 1844, Outdoor Labour was again prohibited. Another change occurred in 1852 when the Outdoor Relief Regulation Order was set up, which attempted to standardise regulations of outdoor relief. This change was due to the increasing number of paupers claiming outdoor relief and that outdoor relief could not be eradicated. This all therefore clearly shows that the methods for dealing with the poor in the period changed dramatically, and indeed with regard to outdoor relief, from one extreme to the other, as they contradicted one of the key points not only made by the Royal Commission but similarly stated in the Poor Law Amendment Act; that outdoor relief should de highly discouraged.

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