Democratic Ideals of 1825-50

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The United States of America experienced several reform movements from 1825 to 1850. The reformers sought to improve religion, rehabilitation of criminals and mental patients, education, slavery, and women’s rights. Each demonstrated democratic ideals to the extent that the reformers sought to incorporate the values of liberty and equality into their reform movements to improve the quality of life but did so at the expense and dismay of others. Religious reformers believed that they should establish estranged communities that lead to equality, liberty, and prosperity among all. The best examples were the Shakers found by Ann Lee, an English immigrant. The members of the community worked together to own their own property. They focused on sharing labor and not oppressing community rules giving the members a sense of liberty. Document F stresses the importance of this collaboration among the people for the greater good of all. The Shakers let the social outcasts of the cities such as blacks, Indians, and troubled whites join their communities as long as they followed the rules and fulfilled their religious duties. This action coincides with the ideal of Document B that once the churches are reformed the sinners will be reformed, awakened and converted to better members of the society. These people were finally able to have a sense of equality unlike the urban areas where people shunned them. Everything that the Shakers did had underlying democratic ideals. They were able to establish liberty and equality in their communities unlike many urban societies. Due to the horrible conditions of the urbanized areas, crime prevention became a necessary reform movement. The reformers established institutions such as the prison system so that the criminals could be removed from society and trained so that one day they were productive. Document A reinforces this idea since it states that young criminals must be placed in their own penitentiary system away from...
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