Changing of Law during Colonial Era

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During the Colonial Time period many of the earlier laws were changed; however, the first thought process to help the poor remained in order. For example, a widow with children would still be able to get help from her Parish when and if she also helped herself. The video, Colonial America Part 1, mentioned that at times widows were sent to live with a new family every two weeks. Widows that were able-bodied had to work to give for their family. At times widows were allowed to stay at a private home who the public pays for.

When a woman’s husband passed away they would become the head of the household. Women during the Colonial Times were allowed to work, own property, and have their own business; however, they could not vote. During the Colonial Period an able-bodied widow would have to give for her children by working and she could work along side of her children. Children who can help their family by working would do so and those who did not wish to help their family were considered “lazy” and “burdens.

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” During this time period being able to support and educate your children was very important because they wanted children to be able to help support the economy as soon as they could; therefore, children who were not receiving financial support or/and education from their parents were removed from their homes. They were then placed into a new home in which the new parents were responsible for the child as long as the child contributed financially to their home.

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During this era a widow and her children had the opportunity to work and keep up their family in good standing.

Veterans, regardless of their ethnicity, have always been treated fairly well. This was the same case during the Poor Laws of the Colonial Era. Disabled veterans that were injured during their time in the service were considered their own “special class.” Our textbook, Social Welfare- A History of the American Response to Need, mentioned, “It had recognized both the special services and the special needs of disabled soldiers and sailors and provided relief for this group as a right on the basis of disability, with payments scaled to military pay.” (Page 29) This demonstrates that any member of the military that is unable to work due to an injury caused during their time of service was given help economy with the same pay they would have received if they were active duty. During the Colonial Era, a disabled veteran would have received help and if he would have passed away his wife which would be left a widow would also be “worthy” of help.

For minorities, such as African-Americans, the expenses of their passage had to be repaid by working off the wages. Many families who could not afford the trip to immigrate to England borrowed money for the trip and promised to pay them back by working for them. Although, people from many places offered to work in return for their passage African-Americans were often excluded. Our textbook mentioned, “However, the chasms of skin color and culture quickly differentiated white servants from black chattel.” (Page 24) This shows that white men or women that were brought from England in exchange for their labor usually ended up working in door as the house servants. African Americans that exchange their labor for their trip had to work in exchange for “slave labor” producing crops such as cotton and tobacco. During the Colonial Era African-Americans were forced into slavery and faced many hardships due to the very hard labor they were asked to do.

For other minorities migrating, such as Mexicans, the decision of whether or not they were worth keeping came from their religious views. During the Colonial Era the amount of individuals migrating to American became unsustainable; therefore, their decision on who was worthy of help came from their religious point of view. It also depended on who they believed would be able to provide for themselves and would not be too much of a burden on society. The increase in immigrants meant that there were more able-bodied men and women to take part in cheap agricultural labor. During the Colonial Era, a Mexican man or women would be turned away if they were not able-bodied or if they did not have the same religious beliefs. In conclusion, many minories, such as Mexicans, were unable to obtain help and were forced to leave or excluded.

At the beginning of the Colonial Era, Native Americans were very important to Americans due to their trading market. There was a high demand for Native American jewelry and Americans were able to supply them creating a relationship between the two races. This did not last very long and Native Americans were later enslaved for labor. The textbook mentioned, “Nor did they include the “near poor” and those needy but ineligible people, displaced Native Americans, and nonresidents who were poor but excluded from aid.” (Page 22). Native Americans had to rely on only themselves for any type of help. Native Americans regardless of their economic status were unable to receive any aid and were ultimately asked to leave their native land. This was the case for many poor groups due to President Benjamin Franklin believing that those who were poor was because of their own faults; therefore, a lot of the help that had been given to the poor was removed and no longer a concern for the country.

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Changing of Law during Colonial Era. (2021, Oct 12). Retrieved from

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