Founded and edited by William Whipper, one of the wealthiest African Americans of his day, the National Reformer preached moral reform and a broad agenda not limited to the slavery issue. It was the official voice of the American Moral Reform Society (AMRS), an integrated group that Whipper helped to organize in 1835. The National Reformer, which sought the awakening of all Americans to the brotherhood of man, emphasized self-improvement, self-help, racial unity, and civic rights for Blacks. It advocated racial integration, nonviolence, and the equality of women; and it urged Black organizations to disband and merge with White groups.
It appeared 12 times a year in 16-page issues, circulating mostly on the eastern seaboard, with agents in Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, and Philadelphia. Its moral-uplift and integrationist message was not always received well by Blacks interested in Black pride and anti-slavery, and when the AMRS folded in the late 1830s, the paper ended publication. Whipper, who had prospered in the steam-cleaning laundry and lumber business, continued to be active in Black organizations, eventually abandoning his early integrationist and anti-colonization opinions. After the Civil War he moved to Philadelphia and became an officer in the Freedmen's Savings Bank.