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Parents of Poor Children in England 1580-1800$
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Patricia Crawford

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199204809

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199204809.001.0001

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Civic Fathers of the Poor

Civic Fathers of the Poor

(p.193) 5 Civic Fathers of the Poor
Parents of Poor Children in England 1580-1800

Patricia Crawford (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

The formulation and implementation of Poor Laws from the late Elizabethan period brought public fatherhood into poor families. ‘Civic fathers’ are men who undertook public roles as fathers of poor children, substituting adequate fathers for inadequate or absent ones. This chapter examines the rhetoric and practices of civic fathers, who, in exercising their paternal authority and granting or withholding relief, reduced all the poor including adults to the state of childhood. Furthermore, the authority of these public fathers was applied not only to the poor in England, but to the indigenous inhabitants of Britain's empire.

Keywords:   Poor Laws, poor families, fatherhood, paternal authority, civic fathers

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