ABOUT THIS BOOK
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.