Hobos and Tramps

The Rules of the Road

The reality of the third phase of hobo life was ugly. When the Great Depression hit, the number of people forced to the road, either rails or hiway, pretty much undid any romance. At the same time, you have the hobo yearbook... The rise of the welfare state, the move to corporate rather than industrial capitalism, the regulation of industry and the passage of laws protecting workers, social security, all the public works projects not so different ffrom things Coxey was talking about in the 1890s to relieve the plight of the poor. The sheer volume of indigent travellers in the Depression at last caused the government to do something. Meanwhile as the hobo moved off the rails and into the car, as ww2 and increased prosperity brought more and more people into safety, as the need for migratory labor decreased in most industries, the hobo, if he still existed, stayed in the place that he was: the skid rows and darker side of town - increasingly cared for, to a certain degree, by the state, no where to go, from hobohemia to skid row,,,

From a Tramp to a King