Journal of American Studies

Research Article

Humanitarianism in the Early Republic: The Moral Reformers of New York, 1776–1825

M. J. Healea1

a1 University of Lancaster

During the eighteenth century humanitarian sentiment grew in both Britain and Europe and by the end of the century, as Michael Kraus has shown, this benevolent spirit was crossing the Atlantic and was touching many Americans. Humanitarian activities of many kinds were undertaken in the early republic, presaging the great reforming crusades of the mid-nineteenth century, and the centres of these experiments were the large commercial cities of New York, Philadelphia and Boston, which possessed the necessary conditions of a conscientious middle-class, an adequate supply of funds, and social evils in need of attention.