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UprootedThe Shipment of Poor Children to Canada, 1867-1917$
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Roy Parker

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9781847420145

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781847420145.001.0001

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The Background

The Background

(p.3) one The Background

Roy Parker

Policy Press

This chapter describes the events that conspired to create the opportunity for a reconsideration of emigration as a solution to the intensified social and economic problems of Britain in the late 1860s. Children came to be regarded as an especially appropriate group of candidates. Child-saving motives could be blended with the wish to see the poor rates relieved and society protected from the dangers of unbridled street-children. Abroad there were countries of the Empire whose economies had not yet reached the stage where there was sufficient capital or labour to introduce and establish the technology that in Britain was changing the economic position of the child and the family. A time lag existed between the economic development of countries like Canada and Britain. This created the practical possibility that the social problems surrounding poor and destitute children in Britain could be transformed into economic solutions in Canada. In many ways the passage across the Atlantic not only transported children to another country but also to an earlier period in their own country, when their toil represented an important element in the agricultural labour force.

Keywords:   child emigration, poor children, street children, Canada, labour force

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