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The Oxford History of the Laws of EnglandVolume XIII: 1820–1914 Fields of Development$
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William Cornish, J Stuart Anderson, Ray Cocks, Michael Lobban, Patrick Polden, and Keith Smith

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199239757

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199239757.001.0001

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The Poor Law

The Poor Law

Chapter:
(p.473) II The Poor Law
Source:
The Oxford History of the Laws of England
Author(s):

Raymond Cocks

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199239757.003.0014

This chapter on the poor law in the 19th century begins with a discussion of the English poor law and how it became the most comprehensive system of public poor relief before the coming of the welfare state. It considers debates about the Speenhamland system, under which the poor were given supplements to wages, and these were increased in proportion to rises in the cost of basic necessities such as bread. The chapter then discusses the creation of the Royal Commission on the Poor Laws, parliamentary debates over the Poor Law Amendment Bill, controlling the machinery of the poor law, and the failure of the law.

Keywords:   English law, poor law, poverty relief, public welfare

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