Floating Poverty: The Poor in Eighteenth-Century Massachusetts Nian-Sheng Huang Author
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[T]hese are the Conveniences and ornaments of a Life of Poverty. These the Comforts of the Poor. This is Want. This is Poverty! Braintree selectman John Adams wrote down these words soon after he visited the neighbor Robert Peacock and family in March 1767. If Adams knew the poor all too well from his personal encounters, eighteenth-century poverty could be elusive for later generations to comprehend. Perhaps, rarely was Massachusetts ever free from poverty throughout this period, nor did that poverty always remain undivided, monolithic, static, or one dimensional. By bringing together the individual stories of several thousand people and their experiences, this book recaptures the difficult lives of the poor and explores the floating characteristics of poverty.


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