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Word Count: 434
MacDowells article about Relief workers in the 1930s in Ontario focuses on young unmarried men and describes the hardships faced during the depression Married men with families were given priority in employment and municipal aid was primarily given to families as well As a result many young men became transients roaming from place to place trying to find work The government became worried that these men would be easy prey for radical ideas To avert revolution relieve unemployment the government developed relief work camps Many historians wonder about the value of these camps but MacDowell argues that the relief workers achieved important results Many permanent results were achieved in public works at an insignificant cost to the government but were somewhat limited due to government policy that would not allow skilled labor to be used in the camps The reason the camps were created was to find employment for wandering young unmarried men and this goal was met Laurel MacDowell is a professor of Canadian Social History at the University of Toronto She concentrates on the history of the working class and has written several books on the subject Her sources include many primary sources that describe the state of the relief program including the militarys Final Report detailing the effectiveness and conditions of the camps Her arguments therefore are very legitimate To prove her point about the amount of actual work accomplished MacDowell cites many examples of projects completed or nearly completed by the workers The workers made no wages but were allowed twenty cents per day in disposable income to spend how they wished The food rations were very small and there was very little to be done for recreation As a result morale was low and workers had nothing to lose Many workers did not work to their full potential and would often only work for a few days and then leave However for the amount of income available these camps made
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