Attitudes Toward The Poor Dbq Essay

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Attitudes on the Poor DBQ
The time period during 1450 and 1700 was a time of change and turmoil, including events like the Protestant Reformation, the finding of a new world, and others. During this time, the attitudes toward the poor changed from positive to negative, from children of God who need help, to beggars who ended up poor because of their own idleness, then back to people who need help.
From 1450 to the 1500’s many believed that the poor should be helped. In the fifteenth century, a Catholic priest gave a sermon (Document 1), stating that whoever gives a penny to the poor, will in return receive 240 pennies after his or her death, meaning that those who give to the poor will be rewarded in Heaven. This sermon was most likely intended
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Emperor Charles V, in Document 3, an imperial decree for the Netherlands, states that those who beg for alms will abuse this, falling toward idleness, which he calls the beginning of all evils. This decree, meant for all the people of the Netherlands under his rule, likely put a stop to alms giving in many areas due to negative connotations. About a decade later, in a town council meeting (Document 4), it is said that those unwilling to work should be expelled from the city because idleness is harmful to the good of the public. Though this was likely not meant to reach the public, rather kept in the privacy of the audience in the meeting, similar attitudes spread throughout this time period.Even into the 1600’s, these negative thoughts about the poor persist, shown through Cardinal Richelieu’s unofficial statement on poverty in Document 5. He states that instead of working, the poor have turned to begging, taking bread that could be given to the sick and deserving poor instead. These words were likely meant for a large public audience through the reference to a plural pronoun, referring to the people, rather than a