Logo en Global Donate now

Online Database: Working for the abolition of legalized migrant enslavement through information sharing

GlobalChange

Document Details

 

Print and save

Journal article

Beggars Can't Be Choosers: Compulsion and Contract in Postbellum America

Date

1992-03-23

Authors

Amy Dru Stanley

Abstract

This essay explores how the authors of the vagrancy legislation, most of whom
were philanthropists deeply imbued with antislavery beliefs, reconciled a venerable
system of compulsion aimed at free but dependent people with the ascendant doc-
trine of liberty of contract. It diverges from themes central to previous studies of
postbellum charity reform: the rise of professional philanthropy, the transformation
in explanations for poverty, the discovery of mass unemployment. It also shifts the
focus from the advent of tramps and the plight of transients to the disorder per-
sonified by the beggar, someone who got something for nothing. Here, the prob-
lems of begging, contract relations, and forced labor take center stage, set against
the backdrop of the abolition of slavery.

Journal title

Oxford Journals

Volume

78

Issue

4

Page numbers

1263-1293

Publisher

Oxford University Press

File Attachments

Links

Economic sectors

General relevance - all sectors

Content types

Past policies

Target groups

Researchers

Geographical focuses

United States

Spheres of activity

History

Languages

English