Reform movements Emily Singer 1st period

The reform movements were when Americans thought they could make the society better, so they tried to abolish slavery and promote women's rights. They also worked on improving education, provide care for the mentally ill, and improving conditions in prisons.

Foundation of Reform

One movement was the Second Great Awakening. It was a religious movement emphasizing individuals' roles they play in their society.

Transcendentalism was another movement. They believed an independent man could reform society, but also disagreed with political parties and organized religions.

Other reforms were inspired by American writers and artists who focused on giving the reader a sense of hope or optimism and richness to our history.

When Jackson became President, he and his supporters created a political organization, whch later became the Democratic party, that represented farmers, workers, and the poor.

Abolitionist movement

Americans spoke out against slavery. They spoke out in response and partially to remove slaves from white societies . Both blacks and whites wanted to abolish slavery. There were many people who supported the abolitionist movement such as William Loyd Garrison, Fredick Douglas, Sojourner Truth and Harriet Tubman who conducted the Underground Railroad, a network of abolitionist who helped over 300 slaves reach freedom.

Women's Rights

Women had very few rights such as the right to vote, hold office, speak about about slavery, and their land and money belonged to their husbands. Lucretia Matt and Elizabeth Cody Stanton hosted a national women's rights convention which demanded equality for women. They modeled the Declaration of Sentiments, their proposal for women rights, after the Declaration of Independence. Reformers slowly made progress, and New York allowed women to keep property wages. Massachusetts and Indiana passed more liberal divorce laws, and other reformation goals would take years to accomplish.

Prison Reform

One day when Dorothea Dix was teaching Sunday school, she saw inmates in chains and in cages. She was overwhelmed also by the children in jail, the shortage of food, and by the inmates locked up in the damp, dark cells, but mostly by how they treated the mentally ill. Lots of inmates were imprisioned because they could not pay off their debts, and those labeled as insane were beaten. Dix wrote the legislature about those conditions and they established mental hospitals, outlawed cruel and unusual punishment, and ended debtors prison.

Public Education

Horace Mann served as the head of the board of education for Massachusetts and was known as the father of public education. He spoke about the importance of public schooling and other reformers thought it would be good to lower poverty and crime rates. The citizens voted to pay taxes to build better schools, pay for teacher salaries, and train teachers.

Labor Reform

Conditions in the workplace were awful, so a campaign was formed to decrease the work hours to eight. This reform also improved clild labor laws, and labor unions were formed to protect workers and women in Massachusetts.

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