Democratic Values- Dbq

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Democratic values are the fundamental beliefs that founded the United States and represent the core of America. Throughout history, many reform movements sought to expand these strong values that represent the unity among Americans through “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” The magnification of these principles can be especially seen through the time period of 1825-1850, where much change was beginning to occur. While all of these reforms sought to expand the democratic ideals, only certain movements succeeded and presented the deserved freedom of rights to all. Movements involving religion, juvenile institutions, and women’s rights supported and expanded upon these ideals while other aspects such as temperance and utopianism failed to offer the true meaning. Foremost, the Second Great Awakening, a religious revival, helped to expand democratic ideals by raising the standards and morals of the common man. Charles G. Finney believed that if people focused on religion and the church then “…the reformation and salvation of sinners will follow,” (Doc B). He said that it would also lead to the conversion of many diverse people including “harlots, drunkards, and infidels,” due to reforms in the church. With the belief that goodness led to salvation, many people in the communities were surrounded by good deeds for humanity. It offered a more uplifting view upon life where, “…the rich have many troubles which we know nothing of; and that the poor, if they are but good, may be very happy, indeed…” (Doc E). Along with equality and goodness among others, the reforms of prisons and treatment of the mentally ill were also changing through Dorthea Dix. The benefits of these reforms where seen by “rescuing [the prisoners] from vice and rendering them valuable members of society, (Doc A). Another very important reform was the beginning of the women’s movement where they desired increased freedom “to declare our right to be as free as man is free,” (Doc I). All of...
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