Reform of the 19th century

19th century

Mental Health reform/prison reform

the issue: Prisons serve a critical role in society. In many cases - particularly cases of violent crime - the best way to handle criminal behavior is to incapacitate criminals by incarcerating them. Prisons are supremely important, but they are also a supremely expensive government program, and thus prison systems must be held to the highest standards of accountability.

Temperance movment:

The Temperance Movement began to solve this growing problem. Beginning in the early 1800s the movement first tried to make people temperate in their drinking—that is to make them drink less. But by the 1820s the movement started to advocate for the total abstinence of all alcohol—that is to urge people to stop drinking completely. The movement was also influential in passing laws that prohibited the sale of liquor in several states. When people took the pledge to stop drinking they joined what was called the "Cold Water Army."
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Educational Reform


A major reform movement that won widespread support was the effort to make education available to more children. The man who led this movement was Horace Mann, "the father of American public schools." As a boy in Massachusetts, he attended school only 10 weeks a year. The rest of the time, he had to work on the family farm. In Massachusetts, Horace Mann became the state's supervisor of education. The citizens voted to pay taxes to build better schools, to pay teachers higher salaries and to establish special training schools for teachers. In addition, Mann lengthened the school year to 6 months and made improvements in school curriculum. By the mid-1800s, most states had accepted three basic principles of public education: that school should be free and supported by taxes, that teachers should be trained and that children should be required to attend school.


women's rights

During the 19th and 20th centuries, the battle for women's vote has followed the development of democracies in which public power depended on the outcome of voting. The struggle in the United States was not the only suffrage campaign, but the American and British woman suffrage campaigns are the best-known and were influential in winning the vote elsewhere.
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Abolition

Christian Arguments Against Slavery

Black and white abolitionists in the first half of the nineteenth century waged a biracial assault against slavery. Their efforts proved to be extremely effective. Abolitionists focused attention on slavery and made it difficult to ignore. They heightened the rift that had threatened to destroy the unity of the nation even as early as the Constitutional Convention.

Although some Quakers were slaveholders, members of that religious group were among the earliest to protest the African slave trade, the perpetual bondage of its captives, and the practice of separating enslaved family members by sale to different masters.

As the nineteenth century progressed, many abolitionists united to form numerous antislavery societies. These groups sent petitions with thousands of signatures to Congress, held abolition meetings and conferences, boycotted products made with slave labor, printed mountains of literature, and gave innumerable speeches for their cause. Individual abolitionists sometimes advocated violent means for bringing slavery to an end.

Although black and white abolitionists often worked together, by the 1840s they differed in philosophy and method. While many white abolitionists focused only on slavery, black Americans tended to couple anti-slavery activities with demands for racial equality and justice

Benjamin Lay, a Quaker who saw slavery as a "notorious sin," addresses this 1737 volume to those who "pretend to lay claim to the pure and holy Christian religion." Although some Quakers held slaves, no religious group was more outspoken against slavery from the seventeenth century until slavery's demise. Quaker petitions on behalf of the emancipation of African Americans flowed into colonial legislatures and later to the United States Congress.