These laws formed the basis of the modern laws in America for aiding the poor. Based on this information, this paper will examine the advantages and disadvantages of the Elizabethan Poor laws and how they have influenced the modern laws on assisting the poor.
The Elizabethan poor law was divided into three sections, with the first section being the requirement that taxation be carried out on all able bodied people. The collected tax would then be used to support the poor. Since the administration of this law was left to the local areas, taxation rates were determined at the local level. The second requirement was the grouping of people. People were listed according to their vulnerabilities with three main groups including children and those who were able to work, while the last group was for the impotent who included blind people, the elderly as well as the lame (Trattner, 1998). This last group of people was unable, by all means, to fend for itself and therefore, relied on the support of others. The last requirement was that these vulnerable groups should be first catered for by the family. If this was not possible, the responsibility was passed on to the government. This law had several advantages with it. However, it also bore some disadvantages.
The administration of the laws from the local parish meant that people were more likely to benefit from the new laws since it was easier to divide the people into the specified groups. The parish manager would know all people living in a given parish and this meant that dividing the people was not a hard task. In addition to this, the taxes to be used were to be derived from the local populace. Since the parish had already been given permission to tax a person as it saw fit, the tax rates would vary depending on the number of people who were to receive aid. The poor would, therefore, always have sufficient aid since the parish could collect enough taxes to cover