- Maternal Commonwealth: Upper-middle-class women of the late 19th century were not content with the cult of domesticity of the early 1800s. Many had become college educated and yearned to put their knowledge and skills to work for the public good.
- Womens’ Christian Temperance Movement: supported prohibition of alcohol and served at soup kitchens or medical clinics.
- Settlement houses: provided family-style cooking, lessons in English, and tips on how to adapt to American culture.
- Contempt for African Americans: Revitalized Ku Klux Klan continued to intimidate and victimize African Americans in the South, but also included anyone they perceived as foreign—immigrants, Catholics, and Jews—in their campaign of violence. The government actively passed laws that hindered African Americans from using their rights.
- W. E. B. Du Bois - Black historian and sociologist; lobbied for equal economic and social rights for African Americans
- Florence Kelley: social reformer. known for workers rights, childrens rights
- Jane Addams - Social activist
During this period, reform gave women a sense of purpose as they attempted to change society and fight for their autonomy. African Americans used various methods (schooling, protest, violence, media) to fight against a system that deliberately barred them from exercising their rights as U.S. citizens.