An Intellectual History of British Social Policy: Idealism by John Offer

By John Offer

The historical past of social coverage is rising as a space of becoming curiosity to either scholars and researchers. this article charts the interval from the 1830s to 2005, delivering an research of the connection among social thought and social coverage within the united kingdom.

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Implementation requires a permanent poor law commission, elected boards of guardians, and powers to award grants to voluntary associations for the building of alms-houses and other purposes. 21 An intellectual history of British social policy Nevertheless, the report observes that the effectiveness of remedies ‘under Providence’ mainly depends: upon those who possess power and influence in the country. It is only through these that the poor can be put into proper courses of industry, taught the value of comforts, or animated to exertions to procure them.

C. Lewis wrote to Head in April 1837 regarding the Irish Poor Law Bill, the refusal ‘of the express right to relief will be quite illusory: practice will establish what the legislature will not grant’ (Lewis, 1870, p 76). However, Whately had also described the labouring population as ‘not from any fault of their own, in permanent want’ (Third Report, 1836, p 5). Even his friend Senior found this statement unpalatable: I cannot admit that they are in want not from any fault of their own. If the Irish labourers allow their numbers to increase without any reference to the means of subsistence, a portion of them must every year, or at every unfavourable season, perish from want, and all of them be in a state of permanent distress, or apprehension of distress.

In brief, he was arguing for a sophisticated kind of psycho-neural parallelism in which the evolution of consciousness can be traced in the animal and human worlds, accounted for by the accumulated effects of adaptation in psychic and physical structures (on Spencer’s psychology see Chapter Three, and Mivart, 1873; Smith, 1982; and Taylor, 1992). Intensive work on the Psychology led to a breakdown in health; anxiety about his health and insomnia were recurrent concerns for the rest of his life.

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