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Animals Made Americans Human: Sentient Creatures and the Creation of Early America's Moral Sensibility

Bill Leon Smith
Journal of Animal Ethics
Vol. 2, No. 2 (Fall 2012), pp. 126-140
DOI: 10.5406/janimalethics.2.2.0126
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5406/janimalethics.2.2.0126
Page Count: 15
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Item Type
Article
References
Animals Made Americans Human: Sentient Creatures and the Creation of
Early America's Moral Sensibility
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Abstract

This article analyzes the first animal cruelty conviction in the United States. Members of America's founding generation worked to enhance awareness of animal cruelty, while drawing out its ethical implications and linking them to the nation's birth struggles. They then took action to alter how animals were viewed in the inchoate American legal system. Perhaps the solution to contemporary animal cruelty lies in reexamining our past. A conviction for animal cruelty was unprecedented in 18th-century America. A revolution of thought regarding animals needed to occur. Dusting off centuries-old documents may reveal how we can have a revolution of thought today.

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