The Second Great Awakening was a movement of religious feeling and belief in the 1820's and 30's. Another big movement was the Transcendalism which was the belief in the goodness of man. One of the leading Transcendentalist goes by the name of Henry David Thoreau. He supported the fact that people challenge the laws they considered unjust by refusing to obey them. This behavior was known as civil disobedience.
An abolitionist is someone who works against slavery. They wanted to end slavery in the U.S. Fredrick Douglass was an ecasped slave that talked about slavery and soon became a leader in the abolitionist movement. In the 1800's he created his own "anti-slavery" newspaper called "North Star". He named it this because when slaves escaped from the frontier, they would follow the North Star. Another escape plan slaves used was the Underground Railroad. The Underground Railroad was a secret group of abolitionists that secretly helped runaway slaves escape to the North.
Women's Rights Movement was a big talk in London around the 1840's because of these main reasons. First off, women had very little political or legal rights and one right they didn't have was the right to vote. Any money they earned, would go straight to their husbands. A law of women being abused by their husband was non-existent. The ladies that go by the names of Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton (picture) decided to host a national women's rights convention in New York. The Convention demanded equality for women at work, school, church, and in the voting booth.
A Boston school teacher that happens to go by the name of Dorothea Dix agreed to help out a friend and teach a Sunday class at a jail. Little did she know that her warm heart would lead to a reform effort in the area of prisons and treatments of the mentally ill, she was shocked with the amount of inmates that we're all crowded together in the dark corners of the cell. Most inmates were imprisoned because they couldn't pay their debts. Many individual judged "insane" or "crazy" which lead to them being locked away in a prison cell where they were whipped and beaten for their behavior.
In the late 1820's, The Temperamce Movement was started for the main reasons. Number one, alcohol abuse was widespread amount men, women, and children. The reformers matched alocohol abuse to crime, the breakup of families and mental illness. In the 1850's, Maine was the first state to ban the sale of alcohol and many other states soon followed.
In the 1800's the spirit of reform made its own way to the classrooms. Not many children attended school, because of the prices. A man that goes by the name of Horace Mann led the changes of this practice. He later received the nickname "Father of American public schools", because of his work. Mann talked to many, many citizens about the importance of public schools, because not everyone can afford private schools. Under Mann's guidance, the citizens of Massachusetts voted to pay extra taxes to build better schools, to pay higher salaries for the teachers and to open schools to train teachers. Even though public schools started to bloom across the country, not every child had the chance to go to a public school. Few girls were able to go to highschool or even college.