Reform Movements Haven Haywood & Ashtyn Fuller/ 8th Period

Foundations of Reform

"Goodness of Man"
Transcendalism is where they believed a reliant man could improve society. Henry David was a leading transcendentalist and he was an example of civil disobedience. There was also many other people who served to motivate the public. Another movement was the Second Great Awakening which revived religious feeling. The election of Andrew Jackson gave citizens hope and him and his supporters created a political organization that would present ordinary people. Some people who also created a voice that was truly American were Washington Irving, James Fennimore Cooper, Herman Melville, Emily Dickinson, etc. The people listed had creations that focused on American themes and gave the reader a message of hope.


"Liberty and Equality for All"
These were the people who were against slavery & the abolitionists felt the only way the U.S. could keep their liberty and equality for all was to end slavery

The abolitionist movement started in the Revolutionary Era because of inhuman treatment of slaves and trying to remove blacks from white society. Slavery ended in the North but a lot of Northers still accepted slavery. One of the famous leaders of the abolitionists was William Garrison (publisher of a newspaper called The Liberator), and he formed a anti-slavery society in 1833. Another famous leader was Harriet Tubman (conductor of the Underground Railroad), and she helped slaves reach freedom using the North Star to guide them. Tubman helped more than 300 slaves escape and be free. The anti-slavery failed in the South and some people in the South defended the institution of slavery. The antislavery fight led a path to the next reform effort, the woman's rights movement.

Woman's Rights

"We All Can Do It!"
Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Candy Stanton went to the World Antislavery Convention and they weren't allowed to speak about slavery because they were woman. Woman could not vote or hold office, and any wages that was hers, belonged to the husband and there wasn't a law that stopped the men from abusing the wife. Mott and Stanton hosted a woman's right convention which modeled woman rights on the Decleration of Independance. Reformers for woman's rights started to make progress. Some abolitionists like Douglass, Truth, and the Grimke sister were also active members. New York then passed a law saying that woman could keep their property and wages. The right for woman to vote would not be achieved until 1920.

Prison Reform

"Way Unfair and Cruel"
Dorothy Dix wanted to put a change to the inhuman treatments of the mentally ill & prison members. After she found out the way they were treated, she wrote a report & the law makers voted to create new mental hospitals for the mental ill.

A Boston school teacher by the name of Dorothy Dix decided to teach a Sunday school at a jail. While teaching this school, little did she know that she'd end up leading a reform effort on treatments of the mentally ill in prisons. A large number of inmates were in prison because they didn't pay their debt, even some debts as small of $20. Inmates were bound in chains and put in cages while children were also jailed with adults. Individuals who were called "insane" were locked in prisons and beaten and whipped. Dix issued a report to the state legislatures telling the horrible conditions in the prison. Dix was able to get other reforms enacted like the outlawing of cruel punishments, the discountinuing of debtors prisons and creation of a special justice system for children.


In the late 1820s, the Temperance act was started and it was a public campaign against buying and drinking alcohol. Alcohol abuse was very widespread among woman, men, and even children. Alcohol was also an important part of a lot of social functions like marriage ceremonies and elections to militia musters. People accustomed to hard physical labor often drank when working and it was often used to pay workers with drink as well as money. Alcohol abuse was linked to crime, breakup of families, and mental illness. By 1850, Maine banned the sale of alcohol and other stated wanted to do the same thing so they followed behind Maine. These laws were later repealed but the movement once again gained strange in the late 1800s.

Public Education

"Father of American Public Schools"
In the mid-1800s few children attended school because of the cost. Horace Mann made an effort to change that (aka "father of American public schools").

In the mid-1800s reform made its way to classrooms. Very few children were able to attend schools because of the cost. Mann was the head of the state board of education and he spoke to the people about the importance of public schools. Reformers saw school as a good way to solving some of the problems in society. People of Massachusetts voted to pay taxes for better schools and to pay teachers higher salaries. Mann's ideas spread and his reforms were embraced by other states. Public schools were getting big across the country but not every child was able to attend a public education.


Made with Adobe Slate

Make your words and images move.

Get Slate

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.