Example essay on American Reforms:
America experienced many kinds of reforms during the time period between 1825 and 1850. The different types of reform movements in the United States during this time period sought to expand democratic ideals through religious, women’s, and social reforms. The era’s reformers were portrayed as idealistic altruistic crusaders who intended to improve American society.
Church attendance was still a regular ritual for about three-fourths of Americans. In fact, Alexis de Tocqueville declared that there was, “no country in the world where the Christian religion retains a greater influence over the souls of men than in America.” Hence, it was very easy to bring reform to America through religion. One of the reformers was Charles Finney. He denounced both alcohol and slavery and encouraged women to pray aloud in public. This brought a democratic principle in which women are equal to men and slaves are also free people. In Document B, he declares that through such type of reforms harlots, drunkards, infidels and all kinds of abandoned characters are awakened and connected. This provides the people in the community a well rounded life and expanded democratic ideals as it included more people through participation in the community. The author of Document E foretells that if people are happy with what they have and know that God is in control, just like the good boy, they will be happier in their lives and will have the capacity to govern themselves. This will contribute to the society, which is one of the key facts in democracy.
Women’s higher education was frowned upon in the early decades of the nineteenth century. Prejudices also prevailed that too much learning injured the feminine brain. But later on women became one of the reformers that expanded democracy through their involvement and petition to legislatures. Dorothea Dix was one of the tireless reformers who worked mightily to improve the treatment of the mentally ill and finally made a petition to the Massachusetts legislature in 1843. She was also appointed superintendent of women nurses for the union forces at the outbreak of the civil war. The lady that is portrayed in Document C also shows that women need to be treated equally as people and not as slaves. The author of Document I also mentions that women have also part in democratic government as they are members of the governed and no favor of laws must be shown to anyone.
America was being changed in a way that would affect the future generations. Temperance society was founded, Harmony and Brook farm communes were also established. In fact, as in Document A, Americans were starting to feel proud as America was the first to adopt the penitentiary system of prison discipline and attempted to prevent crimes by imparting knowledge. People were also uniting and forming voluntary association to promote the great purposes of human culture as in Document F. The people also wanted to guarantee each other spiritual progress and physical support which is one of the main facts of democratic principles as the people, the governed, have a say in their government. Some of the reformers also believed that the government by that time was biased and that a new one in which the people participate, as the author says in Document G, was needed. Some of the people in this reformation era were mostly morally ethical. Some believed that who get involved in drinking end up being poor or dead. These people started to have the right to say what they believed in. This can be seen in Document H.
Many of the reformers in this era believed to take the American Society to a higher level. However, all did not believe in the same path to that level. Some, like Samuel Morse in Document D, believed that America should not give foreigners a lot of rights. Everyone having the right to say what they believed in is the main democratic principle that came forth from the reforms and the reformers during this era to direct America in a new path its people never knew.