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The Popularization of Malthus in Early Nineteenth-Century England Martineau, Cobbett and the Pauper Press by James P. Huzel
  

The Popularization of Malthus in Early Nineteenth-Century England Martineau, Cobbett and the Pauper Press

Part of the Modern Economic and Social History Series

Synopsis

The Popularization of Malthus in Early Nineteenth-Century England Martineau, Cobbett and the Pauper Press by James P. Huzel

The political economist Thomas Robert Malthus (1766-1834) has gained increasing and deserved scholarly attention in recent years. As well as the republication of his works and letters, a rich body of scholarship has been produced that enlightens our understanding of his thoughts and arguments. Yet little has been written on the ways in which his message was translated to, and interpreted by, a popular audience. Malthus first rose to prominence in 1798 with the publication of his Essay on the Principle of Population, in which he blamed rising levels of poverty on the inability of Britain's economy to support its growing population. His remedy, to limit the number of children born to poor families, outraged many social reformers, most notably William Cobbett, but found a ready audience in other quarters, Harriet Martineau, among others, being a famous Malthusian advocate. In this new study of Malthus and the impact of his writings, James Huzel shows how, by being both popularized and demonized, he framed the terms of reference for debate on the problems of pauperism and became the beacon against which all proposals seeking to remedy the problem of poverty had to be measured. It is argued that the New Poor Law of 1834 was deeply influenced by Malthusian ideals, replacing the traditional sources of outdoor relief with the humiliation of the workhouse. Dealing with issues of social, economic and intellectual history this work offers a fresh and insightful investigation into one of the most influential, though misunderstood, thinkers of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries and concludes that Malthus was perhaps even more important than Adam Smith and David Ricardo in fostering the rise of a market economy. It is essential reading for all those who wish to reach a fuller understanding of how the tremendous social and economic upheavals of the Industrial Revolution shaped the development of modern Britain.

About the Author

Dr James P. Huzel is Assistant Professor Emeritus of History at The University of British Columbia, Canada.

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Book Info

Publication date

27th February 2017

Author

James P. Huzel

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Publisher

Routledge an imprint of Taylor & Francis Ltd

Format

Paperback
282 pages

Categories

Modern history to 20th century: c 1700 to c 1900
Social & cultural history
Economic history
Literary studies: c 1800 to c 1900

ISBN

9781138263024

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