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Poor Laws

In: Social Issues

Submitted By tiffany32
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When thinking critically about Benjamin Franklin’s view on the poor laws, it became apparent that his views were connected to the views of a conservative. Benjamin Franklin believed that “the best way of doing good to the poor is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it” (Williams, H.,1994). Analyzing Benjamin’s meaning behind this statement is thought provoking; from a conservative point of view this statement can be perceived as individuals needing to take care of them selfs without any help from social services or government agencies. Benjamin Franklin believed that all individuals should be solely responsible for themselves and their economic welfare even if they were to become disabled or elderly, the belief was that they should have prepared for the unknown (Williams, H., 1994).
Franklin took the stance that the poor laws made individuals dependent on others to provide for them, which then would lead to increased poverty and reliance on government supports. Franklin argued that the less you provide for individuals forces the individual to do for themselves, promoting independence, self worth and riches. Although Franklin believed that getting assistance form private charities could be harmful; he also believed that if the government was able to delegate how the programs were managed then this would prove to be
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more effective (Williams, H., g82). The view that the government would be able to police the programs to ensure that individuals were not taking advantage of the supports that were given.
Making connections on Franklin’s view on the poor laws and the class discussions, it became obvious that Franklin’s views come from one of a behaviorist. Franklin would like the individual in society to act in a social exactable manner; acting in a social acceptable manner during the poor laws era would mean that an individual would have the ability to take care of themselves; planning for the good and bad in life. This could be viewed as individuals having the ability of pulling themselves up by their boot straps, not relying on any supports form any local or government agencies.
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