esponsibility for the poor depended on their origin and condition. Indigent persons deemed able to work were viewed as unworthy of assistance and were imprisoned, whipped, or turned away.
Pennsylvania was an early leader in developing legislation to provide and regulate public support for the poor.
he Pennsylvania Poor Law of 1705 authorized counties to establish overseers of the poor, who could collect taxes for poor relief,
The stigma and harshness of workhouses provided an effective deterrent to seeking public relief.
ws limited immigrants except for those of unquestionable health, established strict residency requirements for public aid, and allowed Philadelphia to expel vagabonds and paupers from other colonies
public aid, and allowed Philadelphia to expel vagabonds and paupers from other colonies. The Poor Law of 1771, passed again in substantially the same form in 1778 after statehood, reaffirmed residency requirements (“law of settlement”) and the primary responsibility of grandparents, parents, and children for the care of poor family members.
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