Crossing period boundaries separating late medieval, early modern, and long eighteenth-century England, Paul A. Fideler offers a coherent overview of parish-centered social welfare from its medieval roots, through its institutionalisation in the Elizabethan Poor Law, to its demise in the early years of the Industrial Revolution.
- incorporates the latest scholarship
- weaves together social, economic, demographic, medical, political, religious and ideological history
- offers fresh treatments of the contextual importance of Christian moral theology in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, humanist and protestant thought in the sixteenth century and neo-Stoic benevolence and political arithmetic in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries
- explores two competing approaches to social welfare: societas (voluntary, rooted in custom and tradition) and civitas (mandatory, embedded in policy and law)
- concludes with a detailed examination of the first histories of social welfare in England undertaken in the late eighteenth century.
PAUL A. FIDELER is Professor of History and Humanities at Lesley University, USA. He has been Visiting Scholar at Harvard University, USA, a Fellow of the American Council and Learned Societies, and President of the Northeast Conference on British Studies and the New England Historical Association.