THE GREAT AWAKENING
This was a revival of religious freedom and beliefs in 1820's- 1830's. It emphasized the role that individuals played in their own societies. This spiritual resurgence altered the character of American religion. Another movement was called trancedentalism, which is the belief in the goodness of man. They believed that that a self reliant man could reform society.
Fredrick Douglas escaped slavery at the age of 20. He lectured against slavery and soon became an abolitionist. In 1847 he decided to start his own newspaper, which was antislavery North Star. The antislavery movement was not a success in the south. Southerners that didn't have slaves still defended the institution of slavery. The antislavery fight paved a way for the women's rights movement to form.
Women had few political or legal rights. They couldn't vote, hold office, and any wages they earned belonged to their husbands. Any property they had as a single women became their husbands upon marriage. There was no law that said women couldn't be abused by their husbands. There was a national women's rights convention that was held by Lucretia Mott and Candy Stanton. At the convention they demanded equality for women at work, school, church, and in the voting booth.
Prison reform/ Care of the disabled
Dorothea Dix agreed to teaching a class at the jail, but she didn't know that her kindness would lead to teaching mentally ill and a prison also. Dix was disturbed by what she saw in the prison, especially the mentally ill because they were "insane". Dix decided to issue a report to the state legislature highlighting the horrible conditions. Some reforms like, outlawing of cruel punishments and discounting of debtors got involved.
Horace Mann received the nickname, "father of American public schools" for the work he did. Horace was head of the state board of education in Massachusetts, he also spoke to people about the importance of public schools. Reformers saw education as a way of solving problems in society, like proverty and crime. The citizens of Massachusetts voted to pay taxes to build better schools, higher salaries for teachers and open up schools to train teachers. Not everyone had the opportunity to a public education, onLy a few girls were able to go to high school and college.
Alcohol abuse was common for men, women and children. The late 1820's was when the temperance movement started. The temperance movement is a public campaign against the sale or drinking of alcohol. Maine banned the sale of alcohol in 1850, other states followed them with similar legislation. The laws were later repealed and the movement gained strength in the late 1800's.