Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Intellectual conflict and the Irish poor law question in the 1830s
Author: McGauran, John-Paul
ISNI:       0000 0004 2720 2227
Awarding Body: University of Ulster
Current Institution: Ulster University
Date of Award: 2010
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
This thesis examines intellectual controversies and the Irish poor law debate of the 1830s. It seeks to modify how the poor law is understood within historical social policy studies. Christian political economy as a part of English poor law reforms has been studied before, but not as a factor in the introduction of the Irish poor law. This examination focuses on the key figures in the debate, Archbishop Richard Whately, Nassau Senior, George Cornewall Lewis, George Nicholls, James Ebenezer Bicheno, John Revans, Thomas Spring Rice and Lord John Russell. All displayed concern with the moral, as well as the material, improvement of Ireland's population, with Bicheno and Whately the most driven by concepts of God's design of man and society. With no previous 'right' to relief in place, Ireland presented a golden opportunity for' ideal' forms of a poor law to be articulated. Within Christian political economy debates triggered by ideas of an Irish poor law fused with concerns about the capabilities of Irish administration and the nature of Irish 'character'. Ideas of how best to provide the conditions in which individuals themselves would be encouraged to actively choose to pursue virtuous conduct were contrasted with more utilitarian beliefs of a direct linkage between government action and the reform of social and economic outcomes. The distinctiveness of Whately's royal commission lay in its engagement with and commitment to Christian political economy, not as has been alleged on occasion to a 'deeper' or more 'humanitarian' level of 'insight' in economic terms. As well as attempting to reinterpret the Irish poor law debate, this thesis makes a more general contribution to historically orientated studies of social policy by demonstrating that 'progressivist' assumptions about social policy can work against achieving a careful understanding of past models of redistribution, and thus diminish the potential of the past to illuminate the present.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available