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Migration and Empire$
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Marjory Harper and Stephen Constantine

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199250936

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199250936.001.0001

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Children of the Poor: Child and Juvenile Migration

Children of the Poor: Child and Juvenile Migration

(p.247) 9 Children of the Poor: Child and Juvenile Migration
Migration and Empire

Marjory Harper

Stephen Constantine

Oxford University Press

Some programmes of assisted empire migration were intended to ease social problems in the UK. Children and juveniles without parental support were regarded as particularly at risk, and philanthropic responses, sometimes supported by Poor Law authorities and in the 20th century by central government, included their emigration to the empire's white settler societies. Early 19th‐century precedents developed into major schemes from the 1860s. Substantial numbers were sent to Canada and later to Australia, plus a few to New Zealand and Southern Rhodesia. Their migration was expected to ease the shortage overseas of cheap (white) labour and strengthen the empire, while also benefiting the children materially, morally and spiritually, but exploitation of vulnerable children was a persistent danger. An assessment of benefits and risks is offered, and an explanation provided of why such programmes eventually ceased, but not until the 1960s.

Keywords:   Australia, Canada, children, juveniles, labour, New Zealand, philanthropy, Poor Law

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