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Reform in America

By | April 2013
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Reform in America
The nineteenth century brought many social illnesses to light with the strong reformation movement. A lot of reformers sought to correct morals, attitudes and aesthetics of society by implementing a series of attacks on actions, beliefs, and institutions that were considered to degrade society. These attacks came in the form of legislature, informing citizens, and physical enforcing. The success of such reformation movements can be seen through the treatment of alcohol in the time, the increase in public education for children, and the correction in conditions and treatments of criminals.

During this time, alcohol was a beverage that was drunk in large quantities. It was especially consumed by men of lower class that worked manual labor on things such as the Erie Canal. Because these men were using their wages to buy alcohol instead of providing for their families, their families were often driven hungry without enough monetary support, and were forced into poverty and begging. Reformers sought to end this discrepancy for the negative effects it had on society. People such as the Beecher family, as well as Susan B Anthony and groups like the American Temperance Society preached the indecency of alcohol through government regulation that prevented the consummation of alcohol as well as making it harder to access, and instruction against it in actual sermons as well as schools. In a way the movement can be seen as successful because the idea of the immorality of alcohol lasted well into the 1930’s, however the movement died off with the end of the Prohibition.

Many children of the time were uneducated and stayed uneducated. Because of this, children often grew up to be adults with low literacy, which induced low morality and sense of community that reformers strived towards. Horace Mann was the first reformer to really pay attention to the failing education of the children. He understood that the children were the future and wished to mold...
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