Humanitarians

Octavia Hill
1838 -1912

English campaigner for housing reform and public open spaces. She cofounded the National Trust in 1894.

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John Howard
1726 -1790
English philanthropist whose work to improve prison conditions is continued today by the Howard League for Penal Reform.

On his appointment as high sheriff for Bedfordshire 1773, he undertook a tour of English prisons which led to two acts of Parliament 1774, making jailers salaried officers and setting standards of cleanliness. After touring Europe 1775, he published State of the Prisons in England and Wales, with an account of some Foreign Prisons 1777. He died of typhus fever while visiting Russian military hospitals at Kherson in the Crimea.

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John Maynard Keynes
1883-1946
1st Baron Keynes - English economist.

His General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money 1936 proposed the prevention of financial crises and unemployment by adjusting demand through government control of credit and currency. He is responsible for that part of economics now known as macroeconomics.

Keynes led the British delegation at the Bretton Woods Conference 1944, which set up the International Monetary Fund. His theories were widely accepted in the aftermath of World War II, and he was one of the most influential economists of the 20th century. His ideas are today often contrasted with those of monetarism. Keynes was a fellow of King's College, Cambridge. He worked at the Treasury during World War I, and took part in the peace conference as chief Treasury representative, but resigned in protest against the financial terms of the treaty. He justified his action in The Economic Consequences of the Peace 1919. His later economic works aroused much controversy.

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Florence Nightingale

Florence Nightingale's parents were horrified. Their daughter had just announced her intention to be a nurse, and nursing was among the lowest of occupations, engaged in by the dirtiest and least-educated women.

But Florence was strong-willed, meticulous and believed God had given her a special calling. "On February 7th, 1837," she wrote, "God spoke to me, and called me into his service."

Despite her parents' objections, she studied nursing at Catholic and Protestant hospitals.

Then, in 1854, the horrible condition of British Army hospitals during the Crimean War prompted the government to ask her to run the hospitals in the Crimea, located on the north side of the Black Sea. With her emphasis on sanitation, she and her 38 nurses brought the hospital death rate from 42 percent down to 2 percent.

Though the strain of the war had permanently damaged her health, she later founded a nurses' school, wrote on hospital administration, petitioned the government for hospital reforms, and served as an inspiration for the founding of the Red Cross by Jean Henri Dunant.

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