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Prince Memorial Library


Give Us Your Poor and Indigent: Maine’s Pauper Laws and the Town of Cumberland Overseers of the Poor examines the laws that authorized the creation of the Cumberland Overseers of the Poor, and how that board applied them. The so-called pauper laws were passed by the Maine Legislature in March 1821, and governed the treatment of the state’s poor and indigent citizens. The state’s mandate to its municipalities to provide for the support of their indigent residents was a continuation of the laws in effect when Maine was part of Massachusetts, which in turn were linked directly to English law, specifically the 1601 Poor Law Act and the 1662 Settlement Laws. Maine’s pauper laws remained in effect until the major revision of the general assistance law in the mid-1970s.

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Prince Memorial Library


Cumberland, Maine



Give Us Your Poor and Indigent



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