Reform Movements Matilda N. and Ryder M. 8th Period

Foundations of Reform- There were many efforts to reform American Society. One movement was the Second Great Awakening. This movement was a revival of religious belief that emphasized the role individuals played in their society.

The Second Great Awakening


Another movement was called Transcendentalism. They believed that a self reliant man could reform the society. Henry David Thoreau, a leading transcendentalist, advocated that people should challenge laws they considered unjust by refusing to obey them.

Abolitionist- A growing number of Americans both black and white,were speaking against slavery. Many felt that the only way the U.S. could fulfill its promise to promote liberty and equality for all was to end slavery. The Revolutionary era began because of the inhuman treatment of slaves to remove black people from the white society. William Lloyd Garrison was a vocal abolitionist that formed the American Anti-Slavery Society in 1833. Angelina and Sarah Grimke gave lectures about the evils of slavery. Fredrick Douglas and Sojourner Truth were well known abolitionist. They both were former slaves. Both of them went after goals and risked prison and death to help slaves escape from their masters. Harriet Tubman conducted the Underground Railroad. This was a secret network that helped runaway slaves to reach freedom in the North and Canada.


Women's Rights Movement- When Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton went to the World Antislavery Convention in London in 1840, they were not allowed to speak because they were women. Women barely had any rights. They couldn't vote or hold office. All their earnings when to their husbands. When a woman married her property automatically belonged to their husbands and their was no law against women being abused by their husbands. Mott and Stanton, the daughters of a judge hosted a woman's right convention in New York. In the convention they proposed the Declaration of Sentiments. The convention demanded equality for women everywhere. This convention started started organized women's right Movements.

Women's Rights March

Prison Reform and Care of the Disabled- A Boston school teacher, Dorothea Dix agreed to teach a Sunday school class at jail. This led to reform movements in the area of prisons and treatment of the mentally ill. Dix was overwhelmed by the things she saw in prison. Some of the inmates were in prison because the couldn't pay debts. Most individuals that were called insane were taken away into prison and beaten for their behavior. After seeing other jails and their conditions Dix filed a report to the state legislature showing the horrible conditions. When lawmakers got the report, they voted to create mental hospitals for those who were mentally ill.

Public Education- In the mid 1800's few children attended school because of the cost. A man named Horace Mann changed that and he later got the nickname "father of American public schools" for his work. Horace Mann was the head of the state board of education in Massachusetts. He talked about the importance of education to form educated citizens in the future. People saw education as a way of solving some problems in the society. The citizens of Massachusetts voted to pay taxes to build better schools, pay higher salaries for teachers, and open schools to train teachers.

Temperance Movement- Alcohol abuse was widespread among men, women, and children. Reformers linked alcohol abuse to crime, the breakup of families, and mental illness. In the late 1820's the Temperance movement was started. by 1850, Maine banned the sale of alcohol and other states soon followed with similar legislation. while these laws were later repealed, the movement gained strength again in the late 1800's.

Labor Reform- Conditions in the work place were horrible. A campaign began to decrease the number of work hours to 8 a day. Reform also began to improve child labor laws. Eventually, labor unions were formed to help protect workers such as the AFL/CIO and women in Lowell, Massachusetts.

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