2018 Student Research Conference:
31st Annual Student Research Conference

The Crime of Poverty: The Rise and Fall of the Workhouse From Elizabethan England to Kansas City, Missouri

Samantha E. Carroll
Dr. Neal S. McNabb, Faculty Mentor

The paper provides a brief history of workhouses from the 1500s to the early 1900s with a particular focus on workhouses in both England and Kansas City, Missouri. Through a historical review of various scholarly sources and newspaper archives, the oppression of impoverished people in the English workhouses is explored. The series of Elizabethan laws concerning the operation of workhouses and treatment of destitute citizens are discussed in order to demonstrate how these changes impacted the workhouse paradigm and the lives of paupers. Selected accounts from former workhouse residents are also provided in order to further contextualize what life was like within a workhouse. In addition, two workhouses in Kansas City are discussed in comparison to the English models, with the second of the two workhouses serving as a more compassionate and humane example of how the government should treat indigent citizens.


Keywords: workhouse, poverty, England, Kansas City

Topic(s):Justice Systems

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 207-1
Location: MG 2090
Time: 9:30

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