Reformations of the 19th Century

Mental Health/Prison Reform

During the early part of this period of humanitarian reform, the use of moral management are wide-ranging method of treatment that focused on a patient's of social, individual, and occupational needs became relatively widespread. This approach, which stemmed largely from the work of Pinel and Tuke, began in Europe during the late eighteenth century and in America during the early nineteenth century. Rees (1957) described the approach this way:

The insane came to be regarded as normal people who had lost their reason as a result of having been exposed to severe psychological and social stress. These stresses were called the moral causes of insanity and moral treatment aimed at relieving the patient by friendly association, discussion of his difficulties and the daily pursuit of purposeful activity; in other words social therapy, individual therapy, and occupational therapy.

Woman's Reform

In the early 1800s, women were second-class citizens. Women were expected to restrict their sphere of interest to the home and the family. Women were not encouraged to obtain a real education or pursue a professional career. After marriage, women did not have the right to own their own property, keep their own wages, or sign a contract. In addition, all women were denied the right to vote. Only after decades of intense political activity did women eventually win the right to vote.

Prison Reform

Boston woman named Dorothea Dix agreed to teach Sunday school at a jail. She saw that inmates were chained up and put into cages and children who have major charges for minor things.What shocked Dorothea most of all was the way mentally ill people were treated. Most people who were judged "insane" were locked away in dirty, crowded prison cells. If they misbehaved, they were whipped. Dorothea and other reformers believed that the mentally ill needed treatment and care, not punishment. Massachusetts had one private asylum, or hospital for the mentally ill. But only the wealthy could afford to send a family member there.

Religious Reform

The Second Great Awakening was a period of religious revival in the United States between 1790 and the 1840s. It followed the First Great Awakening of colonial America. Characteristics of this period include widespread conversions, increased church activity, social activism, and the emergence of new Christian denominations. The period is considered to have ended with the American civil war though its legacy continues to this day

Education Reform

Horace Mann was the person to lead this reformation. 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. By the 1850s, most states in the north and south used Mann's idea.