"What to do with the Tramp" - Josiah Flynt - The Century

"What to do with the Tramp" - Josiah Flynt - The Century

by: Josiah Flynt | publication date: September 1, 1894 | Publication: The Century | volume: 48 | journal issue: 5 | pages: 794-796

I must first explain just what I mean by a tramp. Some people think that he is simply a man out of work, a man willing to labor if he has the chance; and others, although admitting that his not so found of toil as he might be, claim he is more a victim of circumstances than of his own perversity. Neither of these opinions seems to me to meet the case. According to my experience, - and I have studied the tramp carefully in over thirty States of the Unions, - his is a man, and too often a boy, who prefers vagabondage to any other business and in moments of enthusiasm actually brags about the wisdom of his choice.

In this article, Flynt explorers how society at large can most effectively deal with tramps. First, he gives the reader a cursory definition of "tramp" while laying to rest common misconceptions about them. He concludes that private citizens should in no part be responsible for supporting "tramps" with alms. Instead, he suggests that each city establish institutions to care of them. Flynt also looks to Europe for methods of dealing with the homeless, as he references Germany "tramps" who essentially serve more as migrant laborers than as homeless.

Public domain.