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An Era of Reform

American reform movements in the mid-18oos

Leah Suhrstedt

on 19 March 2013

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Transcript of An Era of Reform

Reform in the United States The Constitution of the United States begins with these words: "We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union..."

People are reforming because life isn't so perfect for a lot of people in the United States.

What are some groups that might not think our Union was so perfect in the mid-1800s? What is Reform? When you reform something you are trying to improve it.
You can reform institutions
You can reform the way something is done or the fact that it is done at all--this is when you reform a "practice." To what extent did reform movements of the mid-1800s improve life for Americans? Major Reform Movements The "spirit of reform" that came from the Second Great Awakening and transcendentalism
Prison reform
Education reform
Movement to end slavery
Equal rights for women Spirit of Reform: Second Great Awakening Second Great Awakening: a revival of religious feeling that swept across America from the 1800s to the 1840s
Spirit of Reform: Transcendentalism Transcendentalism: a philosophy that stressed critical thinking in order to challenge the norms of society. Transcendentalists believed in the goodness of people and the power of nature. American Reform Movements in the mid-1800s An Era of Reform During the mid-1800s, Americans tried to reform society in many ways. But how much did life really change for the groups of people reform movements tried to help? Why reform? In the mid-1800s, American reformers tried to improve American society in many ways. Who is doing the reforming? Everyday Americans are leading reform efforts! Men and women, black and white, ministers and teachers. Prison Reform Dorothea Dix devoted her life to prison reform after seeing terrible conditions
Prisoners bound in chains, locked in cages
Children treated as adults for minor offenses
Debtors (people who owed money) jailed for as little as $20 Treatment of the Mentally Ill
Most locked in dirty, crowded prison cells
They were whipped if they misbehaved
Dix argued for treatment rather than punishment Taking Action
Dix prepared detailed reports for various states; this led to reform
Lifelong advocate--when she died in 1887, debtors no longer put in prison; special justice systems for children; cruel punishment outlawed Education Reform Horace Mann - becomes known as the "father of public schools." He works his entire life advocating for the establishment of public schools.

In the early 1800s, most children did no go to school at all By 1850 most white children, especially boys, attended free public schools

But what about girls? African Americans?

Women make some progress, but African Americans had few options The Movement to End Slavery How could America, the "land of the free," still allow slavery? William Lloyd Garrison I am in earnest -- I will not equivocate -- I will not excuse -- I will not retreat a single inch -- AND I WILL BE HEARD." Frederick Douglass Equal Rights for Women The Movement Begins The Seneca Falls Convention Conclusions How much progress did reform movements really make? Abolitionist: a person who supported abolition, or the ending of slavery TIMELINE
1776: Quakers stop owning slaves
1792: Every state as far south as Virginia has anti-slavery societies
1793: Eli Whitney invents the Cotton Gin
1808: Congress passes law ending Atlantic slave trade. This makes it illegal to import slaves.
Early 1800s: Slavery has largely ended in the North
1831: William Lloyd Garrison founds the abolitionist newspaper, The Liberator After these words were published, an angry, proslavery mob destroyed Garrison's printing press and burned down his house. Legacy of Seneca Falls The Seneca Falls Convention helped to create an organized campaign for women's rights. One of the major activists to come out of the Convention was Sojourner Truth, a former slave. Douglass was an escaped slave from the eastern shore of Maryland
Becomes vocal advocate for abolition
Works with Garrison
Publishes autobiography and starts his own newspaper, The North Star http://www.history.com/topics/frederick-douglass/videos#frederick-douglas Women and Abolition Many women inspired to work for abolition through religious reform movements
Angelina and Sarah Grimke: raised in a slaveholding Southern family, move north and convinced to work against slavery
Sojourner Truth: former slave, spoke eloquently about abolition
Remember: Abolitionsts still a minority, even in the North Women abolitionists are in a tough position--they were trying to convince lawmakers to make slavery illegal, but they couldn't vote or hold office!
Their fathers/husbands controlled all their money
Husbands could discipline them however they wanted
So women's involvement in abolition leads to the women's movement Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton Two friends met at anti-slavery convention in 1840--women weren't allowed to speak and had to sit behind curtain
Women not allowed to speak in public
Women not allowed to become professionals, like a doctor Seneca Falls Convention: the gathering of supporters of women's rights in July 1848 that launched the movement for women's right to vote
Declaration of Sentiments: a formal statement of injustices suffered by women, written by the organizers of the Seneca Falls Convention. Sentiments means "beliefs" or "convictions." "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men and women are created equal." Susan B. Anthony becomes a leader of the movement at Seneca Falls Spirit of Reform: the Second Great Awakening and Transcendentalism pushed many Americans toward reform efforts.

Prison Reform: Dorothea Dix pioneered the reform of prisons and treatment of people with mental illness.

Education Reform: Horace Mann led the movement to make education freely available to all children. Most girls, women, and African Americans did not see improvement.

The Movement to End Slavery: Abolitionists worked to end the practice of slavery starting in the early 1800s. It would take a Civil War to end slavery, though.

Equal Rights for Women: the Declaration of Sentiments and the Seneca Falls Convention formall started the women's rights movement. Women wouldn't get the right to vote until 1920. Christians told to allow themselves to be "filled with the spirit of God."
Everyone could gain forgiveness for sins, good works stressed as a path towards forgiveness
Leader Charles Finney inspired people to oppose slavery There is a world that transcends the observable world. By observing nature and using emotion and imagination, we can transcend the world around us.
Urged people to question society's rules and institutions; stressed individualism
Model communities, optimistic (or positive) vision of life
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