A founder of the New York Anti-Slavery Society, William Jay was one of the most prolific and influential abolitionists of his day, yet Americans know little about him. This is the first extensive examination of his life and work in over 100 years. Like many of his contemporaries, Jay looked at a rapidly changing America and it frightened him. As a conservative social reformer, it was not merely sinfulness that alarmed Jay, but the perception that America was betraying its founding principles. From his early involvement in local temperance societies to his conversion to the cause of the immediate abolition of slavery, Jay would emerge as one of the most influential reformers. A fierce and vocal opponent of the efforts to repatriate blacks to Africa as well as the U.S. annexation of Northern Mexico, Jay stood at the center of the abolitionist and anticolonialist movements. The son of founding father John Jay, William Jay felt an obligation to help purify America so that it could continue to adhere to the republican principles that had helped create it. Not only does Budney examine the motivation for multifaceted reform, he also probes how advocates of abolition, peace activists, and temperance attempted to craft their appeals to influence the greatest number of people. Many scholars have attributed the vitality of the reform movement--particularly the abolitionists--to the more radical elements such as the Garrisons; however, most reformers would have preferred a more gentle approach to persuading Americans of the veracity of their efforts.