Faculty Seminar Advisor

Dr. Kimberly Jensen

Degree Name

Master of Arts candidate

Department

History

Document Type

Paper

Publication Date

Spring 2012

Abstract

The poorhouse was America’s early welfare institution. This article focuses on the early history of the poorhouse used as a punitive measure to deter poverty and later reform attempts during the Progressive Era. However, it soon became clear that reform efforts could not deter or control the socioeconomic conditions that were driving poverty at that time. This article also looks at society’s early beliefs about poverty and its causes, how those beliefs changed over time, but still remained a contentious topic for many.

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