The History of Helping the Vulnerable Populations

The foundations of what modern governments do to help the poor and vulnerable are connected to the industrialisation processes and their results that occurred in the nineteenth century, even the laws for the poor existed for several centuries before that.

Helping the poor and doing social work have various goals, from helping those who are in poverty and need help to trying and establishing the roots of the problems and trying to eliminate the problems at their core.

While these things are not mutually exclusive, you will typically see people working on just one direction of social work and helping the poor because there is so much to do in each of the areas. The Poor Law was the foundation that formed the right attitude of the residents of England towards the poor for many centuries.

The first Poor Law can be traced back as far as to 1536, the year of the legislation about the impotent poor. After the Second World War, the modern system of the welfare state has officially replaced the Poor Law.

In the past, laws talked about the control of food supplies, prevention of evictions and labour practices, but there was very little that the governments were doing to actually help the poor.

The early reformers of the system believed that the foundations of it were correct. It is just that the implementation could be better and the system could use some adjustments. At the same time, radicals believed that the entire system needed a replacement.

The deterioration of life in the slums let to thinkers like Beatrice and Sidney Webb developing some radical ideas about how the society needs to function in the industrial age. Beatrice and Sidney Webb believed that no matter what individuals did to help those in need, the society must create social protection and take collective action. These were some of the first steps to improve the living conditions of the poor on a bigger scale.

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