Dbq The Early Reform Movements

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During the time period between 1825-1850, ideals of equality, liberty and the pursuit of happiness defined democracy and were inculcated into the masses of America through a series of reform movements that emerged in the antebellum era. During the years of 1825-1850 reform movements in the United States sought to expand democratic ideals through religious reformation during the Second Great Awakening, reformations on human rights as in the abolition of slavery or the womans movement, and changing political views like the expansion of voting rights. In the Age of Reform one of the first practical aspects of improvement was creating the House of Refuge which segregated youthful offenders from more hardened older criminals. This is found in document A. Prior to this reform, these children were not benefiting from incarceration. They were only becoming more sophisticated in the skills of criminal activity. Social reforms in the antebellum era were critical to the expansion of democratic ideals. The temperance movement was based on the desire to create a productive and civilized society that could contribute more efficiently to the image of what a democratic family should be like. This movement began in 1826 as the alcohol was becoming increasingly widespread, affecting the efficiency of labor. Document H illustrates the detrimental effect that alcohol had on the life of the common laborer. In 1851, a law was passed which banned alcohol. This law not only protected women and children physically due to a decrease in abuse, it also supported the democratic principle that every man was equal and productive in his own right, as long as the government protected them from immoralities. The reform of the educational system (Document E) also displays the ideal of utilizing the human capacity. It does so through its goal to make education available to all children so each

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