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Down and Out in Early Americaby Billy G. Smith
Synopses & Reviews
It has often been said that early America was the "best poor man's country in the world." After all, wasn't there an abundance of land and a scarcity of laborers? The law of supply and demand would seem to dictate that most early American working people enjoyed high wages and a decent material standard of living."
Presents evidence that many early Americans lived in poverty and endured financial insecurity.
About the Author
Billy G. Smith is Professor of History at Montana State University. He has edited two Penn State Press books: The Infortunate: The Voyages and Adventures of William Moraley, an Indentured Servant (with Susan Klepp; 1992) and Life in Early Philadelphia: Documents from the Revolutionary and Early National Periods (1995).
Table of Contents
Introduction: "The Best Poor Man's Country?"
Billy G. Smith
1. Poverty and Politics in Early American History
Gary B. Nash
Part I:: Lives of the Poor
2. Dead Bodies: Poverty and Death in Early National Philadelphia
3. Malthusian Miseries and the Working Poor in Philadelphia, 1780–1830: Gender and Infant Mortality
Susan E. Klepp
4. Slaves and Poverty
Philip D. Morgan
Part II: Poor Relief
5. "Who Died an Expence to This Town": Poor Relief in Eighteenth-Century Rhode Island
Ruth Wallis Herndon
6. Gender and the Political Economy of Poor Relief in Colonial Philadelphia
7. Poor Relief "Without Violating the Rights of Humanity": Almshouse Administration in the Philadelphia Region, 1790–1860
8. Bound by Charity: The Abandoned Children of Late Eighteenth-Century Charleston
John E. Murray
Part III: Politics, Religion, and the Creation of Poverty
9. Poverty and Politics in the Hudson River Valley
10. "God Helps Those Who Help Themselves": Religious Explanations of Poverty in Colonial Massachusetts, 1630–1776
J. Richard Olivas
11. The Delaware Indians and Poverty in Colonial New Jersey
Jean R. Soderlund
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