The reforms of the early a 1800’s sought to purify both american society along with individuals, and these ideals dominated the landscape. The specific issues that prompted reforms were temperance, abolition, women’s rights, and prison reforms. Inspired by the Second Great Awakening and transcendentalism, these various reformations that obsessed society were generally successful, and although no immediate permanent changes were made, these reformations were very effective in promoting social movements to better american society.
Another major reform effort is the temperance movement. Ever since the USA had been established, Alcohol consumption had been on a rise, especially considering that alcohol were much more sanitary compared to water supplies. In (DOC B), ___ said that “drunkards can be awakened and converted.” While ____ took the religious side of the Temperance movement, Other organizations also attempted to reveal drunkenness as evil and harmful society as seen in Document H. (DOC H) is supposed to represent the stages of drinking and how it can lead to poverty and disease, crime, and eventually death and suicide. Eventually, the efforts brought forth by these reforms prompted the ratification of the 18th amendment in the early 1920’s which prohibited not drinking, but the sale, manufacture, and transport of alcohol, only of course to be repealed in 1933.
Another reformation in the era of reform was the abolition of slavery. Because slavery was the economic center of the south, most of the abolitionist movements were in the Northern States.
Abolitionists such as frederick Douglass played immense roles in this reform as well. Douglass was a former slave who had escaped from his plantation and quickly became a popular author and public speaker for his accounts as a slave. (DOC C) depicts an african American woman with the words “Am I not a woman and a sister?”, making a strong appeal to American morality. Although abolition was a strong and prominent movement,slaves did not become free until much later in history, during the civil war.
Although many of the advocates for multiple reform movements were women, these women did not fail to neglect their own demands. Susan B Anthony and elizabeth Cady Stanton were some of these women who advocated for their own rights. Many women’s rights conventions were held, including the seneca falls convention in 1848 (DOC I). In her declaration summarizing the ideas of the convention, elizabeth Cady Stanton declared that women deserve the right to vote, the same as men, highlighting the subordination of women and advocated towards their suffrage movement. Despite their tremendous efforts towards women’s suffrage, women in america did not actually receive the right to vote until 1920, much later in American history.
Another reform movement between ___ and ___ was that of prison reforms. Prior to these reforms, people in prison were publicly shamed and beaten. Dorothea Dix as well as many other reformers attempted to better the conditions on the mentally ill and other disabled people. (DOC A), from the Society for the Reformation of Juvenile Delinquents describes prison reforms where education and rehabilitation are suggested as alternative methods of crime prevention among youths as opposed to the current conditions. As a result of the prison reforms, the establishment of many institutions and asylums across the nation.
The Age of reformation between ___ and ___ is similar to the age of enlightenment because much like how enlightenment thinkers believed that humanity can be changed through rational change, many american reformers in this period advocated for societal changes to purify the individual, based on ideals presented by the enlightenment itself.