Democratic Reforms in Us

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DBQ Essay

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. The Common Good, Justice, and Equality. All of these words and phrases are considered core democratic values—by the United States. The question of the matter is whether or not these democratic ideals were sought to be expanded by reformers during the time period of 1825-1850. The validity of the statement, “Reform movements in the United States sought to expand democratic ideals” can be assessed analyzing these three reformations or movements: the Abolitionist movement, the women’s rights movement, and the reformation of the Naturalization Law. The Naturalization Law did not expand these democratic ideals, the women’s rights movement did expand these democratic ideals, and the Abolitionist movement very much so expanded these democratic ideals (or core democratic values). Slavery was a peculiar institution. Abolitionists were people in the mid-1800s who dedicated themselves to the abolition of slavery in the United States. Almost completely northern-based, abolitionists dealt with strong opposition in the early years of their moral campaign, most of that opposition coming from southern-folk. Among these great reformers were Frederick Douglass, a freed slave who became literate, and William Lloyd Garrison, a very radical abolitionist who converted many people to abolitionism. Slavery propaganda floating about in the mid-1800s displayed slaves pleading, “Am I not a Woman and a Sister? (Document C)” and, “Am I not a Man and a Brother?” which exemplified the push for equality among races (whites and blacks in particular), liberty, justice, and life—all core democratic values—that the Abolitionists were trying to achieve. Given the intentions of the Abolitionist movement, the reformation adds much validity to the notion that reformers sought to expand democratic ideals from 1825 to 1850. Women became increasingly involved in their own rights movement around the same time as Abolitionists became involved in...
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