Download Down and Out, on the Road: The Homeless in American History by Kenneth L. Kusmer PDF

By Kenneth L. Kusmer

Protecting the whole interval from the colonial period to the overdue 20th century, this e-book is the 1st scholarly heritage of the homeless in the United States. Drawing on resources that come with documents of charitable organisations, sociological reports, and diverse memoirs of previously homeless people, Kusmer demonstrates that the homeless were an important presence at the American scene for over 200 years. He probes the background of homelessness from various angles, displaying why humans develop into homeless; how charities and public specialists handled this social challenge; and the various ways that varied classification, ethnic, and racial teams perceived and spoke back to homelessness. Kusmer demonstrates that, regardless of the typical conception of the homeless as a deviant workforce, they've got continually had a lot in universal with the typical American.Focusing at the thousands who suffered downward mobility, Down and Out, at the highway presents a different view of the evolution of yankee society and increases aggravating questions on the repeated failure to stand and remedy the matter of homelessness.

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Extra resources for Down and Out, on the Road: The Homeless in American History

Example text

One way in which vagrants were distinguished from most others receiving poor relief was that they were much more likely to be institutionalized. In  Plymouth colony was the first to pass a law establishing a house of correction for vagrants, rebellious children, and stubborn servants who refused to work. In  Massachusetts also moved to suppress “Rogues, Vagabonds, Common Beggars and other Lewd and Disorderly Persons” by allowing towns to establish workhouses, where inmates could be whipped if they refused to labor.

The relative effect on small Midwestern communities was even greater. 13 What made the spread of homelessness to small towns and the countryside possible, of course, was the railroad. The period between  and  saw a vast expansion of the rail network in the United States. “The railroads are doing wonders for this country,” one traveler wrote in his diary in . ” Travel became easier not only for legitimate passengers but also for those who wished to ride illegally. The increasing length of trains and greater variety in the types of cars made it easier for a man to stow himself away undetected.

In this era of the “walking 22 D O W N & O U T, O N T H E R O A D city,” many neighborhoods typically contained a heterogeneous and shifting mixture of homes, businesses, small factories, taverns, even illicit gambling houses and places of prostitution. 23 At the same time, the intrusion of new technologies into the production process began to upset the traditional lifestyle and economic status of many artisans. With the exception of northern textile mills and a few large factories like the Springfield Armory, in most enterprises these changes were incremental and incomplete prior to the s, a situation that created deep social tensions.

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