'Class-ifying" the Poor: Toronto Charities, 1850~1880

Joey Noble


We can find the roots of our contemporary welfare institutions in the activities of the voluntary charities of the 19th century. Despite variations in number and form that occurred in particular historical circumstances, these charities tended to make their appearance and peak in strength relatively early in the transition from the petty commodity to the capitalist mode of production. They were specifically class organizations, the form in which the rising groups of entrepreneurs and professionals sought to comprehend and contain the emerging phenomenon of urban poverty.

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Studies in Political Economy:
Online ISSN 1918-7033
Print ISSN 0707-8552