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Historical Injustices Essay

1180 words - 5 pages

Attitudes towards and response to the poorDuring the mid-15th century to the early 18th century almost half of Europe's total population could be considered poor and destitute. The attitudes of the clergy and the attitudes of the socially elite toward these people varied from pity to disgust, and their proposed solution to these problems differed. Some suggested helping all of the poor by giving them alms, some warned others to be careful of whom the money was given to and some people believed that being poor was a voluntary decision and if they wanted to get out of that situation, they do so without the help of others. In particular the clergy supported alms giving, government officials and the nobility advocated controlled giving, and some of the middle class were suspicious and judgmental and wanted the poor to work. Many of the clergy practiced the giving of alms, for this type of behavior was encouraged by the Bible.During the 15th century, priests would preach on giving to the poor and a good deed during one's life. But if the money is given after death it isn't as valued (Doc. 1). Many people felt sorry for the poor people and raised money for shelters to let them reside in. Some people portrayed those who gave to the poor as "good Samarians" such as in Rembrandt's painting "Alms at the Poor House", where the man giving the money has an injured arm but is still giving happily to the family of poor peasants (Doc. 9) . Vincent de Paul, another Catholic priest, rebuked people who were all talk and no action. He said that to truly alleviate the situation of the needy, one must not only tell them about the Lord, but they must help them out by giving money. Most of the clergy believed that the poor should be helped no matter what their situation was or why they were in that situation. However, not all people agreed on giving without discretion. Many of the government agents and the nobility believed in giving alms to the poor but wanted to make sure that the people they gave to were really poor.In France, the town council is really sympathetic about the poor people are they are establishing ways to see the poor and the children are settled. Their poverty is not their choices by which the society should come up with ways to handle their situations. "We will rent at the city's cost a barn or other place to put them for the nigh and to care for them as well as possible" (Doc. 2). This indicates the positive attitudes to see they get away from their disgust life. Providing them with opportunities could be better so that "they should be put to work in their trades" (Doc. 5). They perceive the idleness of the poor is more harmful to the public for which they establish others ways to see that the poverty is eradicated through other means to prevent such evils things happening. According to the cardinal Richelieu coming up with, "rules and regulations for the poor should be established so that not only all those of the said town but also of the...

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