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"To train them to habits of industry and usefulness" : molding the poor children of antebellum Savannah

By Timothy James Lockley


To suggest that antebellum elite conceived of benevolence as a tool that would help to control the behaviour of the poor no longer raises eyebrows among historians of antebellum reform movements. The debate sparked by the work of Clifford Griffin in the 1950s and continued by historians such as Lois Banner and Lawrence Kohl seems to have run out of steam. Griffin, and others, argued that "social control" was the main motivating force behind nineteenth-century benevolence as elites sought to check poor people's "rampant propensities to low and vicious indulgence.

Topics: F001, HN
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Year: 2009
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