HCC History Crime of Poverty Questions

You will be reading some primary documents and looking at some images from the 1880s and 1890s. You will answer a series of questions about the documents and images.

Crime of Poverty:

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Why does Henry George say that people should not blame poor people for their poverty?

What are some of the working conditions George describes?

What, according to George, is the primary cause of poverty?

  • Crop Lien and Sharecropper contract:
  • (Both of these are for land owned by A.T. Mial)
  • Do you think everyone reading a crop lien would understand what they were signing? Why/why not?
  • What are some of the provisions that keep farmers in debt because of the crop lien? How do you think this affected the generational accumulation of wealth?

    What are some of the provisions in the sharecropper contract that are about controlling the behavior of the sharecropper?

    Both Powell and Medlin sign with an X, indicating they are illiterate. Why do you think Medlin had a crop lien and Powell a sharecropping contract? Explain.

  • Farmers Describe the Crisis
  • Who/What do farmers blame for their problems?
  • What do these farmers see as a solution?
  • Look at the images below of the urban poor, sharecroppers, and poor farmers and answer these questions. (the first 6 photos were taken by Jacob Riis)
  • What are some of the things that stand out to you from these images?

    What can you tell about the role of poor women and children from the images?

  • How do the living conditions of the urban poor compare to the conditions for rural poor people?
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