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This is a small part of the definition for Vagrancy Acts in Dean's Law Dictionary.

The breakup of feudal estates in England led to labor shortages which in turn resulted in the Statutes of Laborers, designed to stabilize the labor force by prohibiting increases in wages and prohibiting the movement of workers from their home areas in search of improved conditions. 23 Edw. 3, c. 1 (1349); 25 Edw. 3, c. 1 (1350). Later vagrancy laws became criminal aspects of the poor laws.

The series of laws passed in England on the subject became increasingly severe. See 3 J. Stephen, History of the Criminal Law of England 203-206, 266-275; 4 W. Blackstone, Commentaries *169. Ledwith v. Roberts, [1937] 1 K. B. 232, 271, gives the following summary: 'The early Vagrancy Acts came into being under peculiar conditions utterly different to those of the present time. From the time of the Black Death in the middle of the 14th century till the middle of the 17th century, and indeed, although in diminishing degree, right down to the reform of the Poor Law in the first half of the 19th century, the roads of England were crowded with masterless men and their families, who had lost their former employment through a variety of causes, had no means of livelihood and had taken to a vagrant life.

The main causes were the gradual decay of the feudal system under which the laboring classes had been anchored to the soil, the economic slackening of the legal compulsion to work for fixed wages, the break up of the monasteries in the reign of Henry VIII, and the consequent disappearance of the religious orders which had previously administered a kind of `public assistance' in the form of lodging, food and alms; and, lastly, the economic changes brought about by the Enclosure Acts. Some of these people were honest laborers who had fallen upon evil days, others were the `wild rogues,' so common in Elizabethan times and literature, who had been born to a life of idleness and had no intention of following any other. It was they and their confederates who formed themselves into the notorious `brotherhood of beggars' which flourished in the 16th and 17th centuries. They were a definite and serious menace to the community and it was chiefly against them and their kind that the harsher provisions of the vagrancy laws of the period were directed.' And see Sherry, Vagrants, Rogues and Vagabonds - Old Concepts in Need of Revision, 48 Calif. L. Rev. 557, 560-561 (1960); Note, The Vagrancy Concept Reconsidered: Problems and Abuses of Status Criminality, 37 N.Y. U. L. Rev. 102 (1962). ....