Reform Movements in 1850's America

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During the early-mid 19th century, many reform movements took place throughout the world, specifically in the United States. The main types of reform movements that took place were social, institutional, religious and abolitionist reforms. Many systems went through reformations, most of them putting emphasis on the idea of democracy. Social reforms such as a push for utopian societies tried to push values and morals on the dysfunctional American society, looking to make it a more democratic one. Abolitionist movements such as the movement for woman's rights and the abolishment of slavery all reinforced the American idea of equal treatment, just like institutional reforms in the public education and prison systems. Religious reforms also spawned the Second Great Awakening, which revived democratic ideals by setting better moral standards for society.

One of the largest reform movements that had the greatest effect on the United States was what took place within and around the institution of slavery. The country became split 50/50 over the very delicate issue of the abolishment of slavery which, if abolished, would affect the economy and social structure of the United States with a colossal magnitude. The majority of the ones who favored the abolishment of slavery believed so because they supported democracy; which in essence secured equal treatment, basic rights and opportunity for its citizens . Abolitionists such as Sojourner Truth, a freed black woman who gained her freedom in 1829, spread her ideas about ridding the country of slavery and promoting women's suffrage through literature and public speeches. Advocates such as this woman spread their ideas, promoting democracy which helped to gradually change the American mindset towards a more equal society.

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