|Appears in Collections:
|History and Politics Journal Articles
|Peer Review Status:
|Thomas Chalmers, the 'Godly Commonwealth', and contemporary welfare reform in Britain and the USA
|Smyth J (2014) Thomas Chalmers, the 'Godly Commonwealth', and contemporary welfare reform in Britain and the USA. Historical Journal, 57 (3), pp. 845-868. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0018246X14000016
|Current prescriptions for welfare reform and increased reliance on the voluntary sector often base their appeal on the lessons of history, in particular the apparent successes of Victorian philanthropy in combating ‘pauperism'. This article looks at how this message has become influential in the USA and the UK among the ruling parties of right and left through the particular prism of the neo-conservative appreciation of the work of Thomas Chalmers, the early nineteenth-century Scottish churchman and authority on poverty. The attraction of Chalmers, both to the Charity Organization Society then and neo-conservatives today, lies in the practical application of his idea of the ‘godly commonwealth' in Glasgow and Edinburgh where voluntary effort, organized through the church, replaced the statutory obligations of the poor law. While Chalmers, and his followers, declared his ‘experiments' to be great successes, modern Scottish historians have revealed these claims to be false and his efforts failures. Only by completely ignoring the evidence presented by this historiography and continuing to rely on Chalmers's own writings and earlier hagiographies can the neo-conservative approbation of Chalmers be sustained. Such wilful neglect raises questions both about their approach to history and their proposed remedies for tackling poverty today.
|The publisher does not allow this work to be made publicly available in this Repository. Please use the Request a Copy feature at the foot of the Repository record to request a copy directly from the author. You can only request a copy if you wish to use this work for your own research or private study.
|Historical Journal 2014.pdf
|Fulltext - Published Version
|Under Embargo until 3000-08-31 Request a copy
Note: If any of the files in this item are currently embargoed, you can request a copy directly from the author by clicking the padlock icon above. However, this facility is dependent on the depositor still being contactable at their original email address.
This item is protected by original copyright
Items in the Repository are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.
The metadata of the records in the Repository are available under the CC0 public domain dedication: No Rights Reserved https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/
If you believe that any material held in STORRE infringes copyright, please contact email@example.com providing details and we will remove the Work from public display in STORRE and investigate your claim.