Antebellum Reform Movements

By: Ashlee Gilley

Roots of Reform

Event: Era of the common man

Cause: Starting in the 1820's universal white male suffrage spread.


  • Andrew Jackson, a "common man" was elected.
  • Candidates had to campaign to appeal to common people
  • The common man gained more influence in goverment


Issue 1: Mental Hospitals

  • Dorothea Dix- Exposed in humane treatment, of the mentally ill.
  • States created mental hospitals not prisons, to give the mentally ill proper help.
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Issue 2: Prison

  • Prisoners treated inhumanly were sometimes jailed just for being in debt.
  • Prisons began focusing more rehabilitating prisoners and "debtors prison" was astablished
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Issue 3: Public Education

  • Education was only affordable for the wealthy
  • Many believed the country could only survive if citizens were educated
  • Horace Mann- Pushed for public tax supported schools with required attendance
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Issue 4: Alcohol abuse

  • Many saw alcohol abuse as the root of societies problems.
  • Temperance-moderation of alcohol abuse
  • The American temperance society convicted many to reduce alcohol use and same states banned the sale of liquor
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Issue 5: Womens Rights

  • Seneca Falls Convention- started to organized womens rights movement in the U.S in 1848
  • Declaration of Sentiments- Declared men and women to be equal.
  • Elizabeth Cady Stanton- demanded women suffrage (right to vote)

  • Womens rights movement was overshadowed by the biggest reform movement, abolitionism

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Issue 6: Abolition of slavery

  • Abolitionism- The abolition of slavery was the biggest and most desired issue reform.
  • Tension over the issue of slavery contributed to the civil war.
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