The Antebellum Reform

Published: 2021-06-29 06:53:22
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Category: American History

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The Antebellum Reform
The Antebellum Reform erupted in the 1830s and 1840s when American society cried out to transform our country. The list of social ills was extensive but included such subjects as drinking, crime, poverty, unemployment, domestic violence, food, and health care. Common reforms included religious, educational and freedom of rights movements. Religious reforms focused on improving society under the divine power of God. Educational reforms were needed to give everyone an improved chance at becoming successful, therefore differentiating between the rich, and the poor. The subject of rights was particularly fought over, with women calling for equality and many others calling for increasing rights for free blacks and abolition of slavery. The people wanted to be more like what was stated in the constitution that "all men are created equal." (Brody & Henretta, 2010)
People wanted to influence themselves, others and the government with religious reforms. By adopting moral beliefs they believed that the good will and intentions of God could be obtained. The country had been based freedom of religion and many believed the country was drifting from those early roots. Religion was a banner for reform because people believed by adjusting religious values it would improve the government and the country as a whole by promoting a more peaceful and moral environment. (Brody & Henretta, 2010)
Education was another issue that was called upon to be reformed. The social classes had incredible gaps between them. The rich were powerful and knowledgeable and the poor were weak and uneducated. The gap seemed aimed at keeping the elite in power and the common man subjugated. Horace Mann and many others believe that by an equal education system this can be alleviated. Mann states in his report "I feel fully justified in affirming, that the prospects of the rising generation are daily growing brighter, by means of the increasing light which is shed upon them from our Common Schools..." (Bethel University, 2011 pg. 38) thus affirming his belief in the reform. This would help more people and improve their chances for success. It is thought that if all society were to be equal in terms of education then other aspects of life could be equalized. (Brody & Henretta, 2010)
Equal rights for all were also called upon to be reformed. Women were demanding equal rights with their men. The patriarchal concept was thought to be outdated and offensive to many. Unfortunately women were thought of as chattel and had no legal rights. However with the reform movement women began to change. They formed societies, became more independent and outspoken, and wanted equal rights with men. There were many arguments about what a woman's place should be. One of the arguments against this was stated "for has he not placed his wife in the highest and holiest position she can occupy

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