Reform Movement Dbq

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Between the years of 1825 and 1850 the United States, under the guise of expanding the ideals of America including democracy, equality and liberty, sought to make social, political, religious and institutional reforms. These reforms were designed to manifest their desire for a utopian society. These reforms took many shapes, institutions such as prisons and asylums were reformed to help fringe members of the public to become functioning members of society. During the second great awakening churches attempted to assimilate all of societies out casts with their doctrine. The abolitionist and feminist movements helped to expand the ideals of democracy. The temperance movement was seen as a larger effort to create a more productive, aware, and participatory democratic society. In the short term these reforms took away freedoms, but in the long term sought to expand the ideals of democracy.

Institutional reforms of the time attempted to educate and rehabilitate the masses in order to create a more engaged populace. The first social change was the improvement of the prisons and asylums. These reforms attempted to help “the youthful and unprotected” to become “valuable members of society”(Doc. A). Another social reform of the time was the attempt to restructure the public school system. Society felt that through education they could create more esteemed members of society. This is exactly what the Brook Farm Association attempted to accomplish (Doc. F). These social reforms gave people a second chance to rejoin and become valued members of society, and in turn make all citizens equal.

During the second great awakening, churches alike attempted to use religion to help assimilate the out casts of society back into the general public. The churches felt that through “conviction, repentance, and reformation” they could help convert and awaken the “Harlots, and drunkards, and infidels” (Doc. B). Once again, these reforms helped to expand democratic ideals by creating...
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