DBQ Choice 5.
Reform movements played an important role during the antebellum period of America. Encouraged by the Second Great Awakening, many groups sought to uplift society with reforms regarding subjects such as women’s rights, abolition, temperance, crime prevention, and education. The multitudes of reform movements which sought to expand democratic ideals through 1825 to 1850 prove the statement true.
One of the more powerful and widespread movements of the antebellum period was the movement for women’s rights. Demonstrated in document I, feminism sought to not flip the gender hierarchy, but to allow women the same rights as men. At this period in history, women were practically only a step above slaves in regards to the rights society neglected to award them. Like the foreigners in document D, women were denied the right of suffrage, forbidden from speaking in public, couldn’t hold office, couldn’t divorce an abusive husband, men received all of their property and wages, and a slew of more injustices. Sojourner Truth, an advocate for women’s rights, delivered a speech once that questioned her womanhood. As she boasted of all the masculine things she had done, she posed the question, “Ain’t I a woman?” Document C’s image is similar in this as it depicts a female slave, questioning her own womanhood. Identifying with the plights of this slave, women’s rights advocates were able to identify more of the inequalities that they faced day to day. They pushed for women’s suffrage, lobbied for equal pay, and though this movement made very little ground in the Jacksonian Era, it would come to set the example for future reformations.
It is not surprising that while during the fight for their own rights, women were some of the largest supporters for the abolition movement. Abolitionist writers would often appeal to the sympathy of their female readers by using the tragic example of female slaves being torn away from their husbands and children. Document...