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Illegitimate Children in Victorian England

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by Shana Hayes on 2 November 2012

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Transcript of Illegitimate Children in Victorian England

Illegitimate Children in Victorian England What caused the original poor laws to be amended? Clause 69 of the 1834 Poor Laws Amendment Act nullifies the prior laws allowing women to demand support from the alleged father.

Section from Clause 69: "[Ability of] the mother of any Bastard Child or Children to charge or affiliate any such Child or Children on any Person as the reputed or putative Father...and to require him to be charged with or contribute to the Expences . . .is hereby repealed." The mother of the illegitimate child would be solely responsible for raising him or her until the age of 16. The only way the father would help would be if guardians of the child, who were not the mother, proved to the court that the man was the father. Even still, the father would only be forced to pay for a child's expenses until he or she reached age seven. The unfortunate plight of illegitimate children and their mothers stemmed from the passing of the 1834 Poor laws Amendment Act. Many felt welfare was being given too generously and to those who didn't necessarily need it.
There was a rise in the births of illegitimate children.
The amount of forced marriages had increased. The Need for the Bastardy Clauses Prior legislation concerning support of illegitimate children seemed unfair.
1. More government aid was given to illegitimate children than poor people.
2. A man could be forced to support his child without proof of paternity. The Change The Effects Repeal of old Laws New Statute Shame and Rejection Illegitimate children and their mothers were outcasts of society. They suffered financially, and the children were turned away from most orphanages. Baby Farming Infants were often sold to "baby farmers" who systematically killed them. The parents of the illegitimate children saw this as the only option. Unfortunately, reform to stop infanticide did not start until the 1860s. Men find dead babies beside a river Connection to the Modern World Today, society still frowns upon children being born out of wedlock. An alternative many women now use is abortion. Works Cited Haller, Dorothy L. "Bastardy and Baby Farming in Victorian England." Bastardy and Baby Farming in Victorian England. N.p., n.d. Web. 31 Oct. 2012. <http://www.loyno.edu/~history/journal/1989-0/haller.htm>.

Resartus, Sartor. Thomas Carlyle. Digital image. Wordpress. Stop NATO, 2011. Web. 31 Oct. 2012. <http://rickrozoff.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/240px-thomas_carlyle_lm.jpg>.

Two babies were identified as Doris Marmon and Harry Simmons. Digital image. History by the Yard. History by the Yard, n.d. Web. 31 Oct. 2012. <http://www.historybytheyard.co.uk/images/babyfarming-riverside.jpg>.

"The Workhouse." The 1834 Poor Law Amendment Act. Peter Higginbotham, 2012. Web. 31 Oct. 2012. <http://www.workhouses.org.uk/poorlaws/1834intro.shtml>.

Working Class Mother and Child. Digital image. Pace. N.p., n.d. Web. 31 Oct. 2012. <http://webpage.pace.edu/nreagin/F2005WS267/NicoleLemieux/victorian_mother_and_child.jpg>. By: Shana Hayes Class: Friday 12:00 p.m.
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