Cover for MCCANTS: Civic Charity in a Golden Age: Orphan Care in Early Modern Amsterdam

Civic Charity in a Golden Age

Orphan Care in Early Modern Amsterdam

Using the Amsterdam Municipal Orphanage as a window through which readers can see the start of profound social and economic changes in early modern Amsterdam, Civic Charity in a Golden Age explores the connections between the developing capitalist economy, the functioning of the government, and the provision of charitable services to orphans in Amsterdam during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the period of the city's greatest prosperity and subsequent decline.

Anne McCants skillfully interprets details of the orphanage's expenditures, especially for food; its population; the work records of those who were reared there; and the careers of the regents who oversaw it. The establishment of the orphanage itself was called for by the changing economic needs of rapidly expanding commercial centers and the potential instability of a government that depended on taxes from a large, politically powerless segment of the population.


"What will make this volume's reputation as an important book is the author's use of economic evidence and methodology to produce important insights into behavior and attitudes." -- James C. Riley, author of International Government Finance and the Amsterdam Capital Market, 1740-1815

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