Despite the best hopes of all immigrants, poverty remained an issue for many after the move to North America. High mortality rates meant that children were easily orphaned, parents easily widowed. At the end of the eighteenth century, it was estimated that a quarter of all whites lived in poverty, as did almost all African Americans. Most towns were required to support their own poor. This support took many different forms. By 1685, Boston had an organized almshouse, and various programs were being established to train its inmates for future work. More commonly, poor members of society were bound out to the lowest bidder in a process similar to indenturing a servant. Young children, unable to provide much in the way of labor or personal defense, were especially vulnerable to abuse. Older children, capable of more skilled work, were often assigned to work off their family’s debt. Organized protection for poor children was not established until much later. Poverty, is it really all about the money? *SCAPE holidaymapq

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