Reform of the 19th century
Mental Health reform/prison 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.
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.