Reform Movements in U.S. History

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Poindeh Weede

Thematic Essay: Reform Movements
Reform movements have been an important part of the United States history. Leaders of the Second Awakened believed that their followers had responsibility to improve life on earth, through reform. Not all reformers were influenced by religion. Many were simply moved by the suffering they saw. One of the well known reform movements was in the education field. Americans who had no voice in how they were being treated were a special concern to many reformers, that was one of the reasons why reformed worked hard to help Americans who were imprisoned. Many Americans had their children taught from home by their parents. In some communities there was school but still reformers saw education in America as a woeful situation. Because there wasn’t a law requiring kids to go to school, most children did not go to school. Reformers stared the public school movement, also called the common school movement, to establish such a system of tax supported public schools. They argued that expanding education would give Americans the knowledge and ability to understand difficult ideas. Education would promote economic growth by supplying knowledgeable workers and help keep wealthy, educated people from oppressing the uneducated poor. Horace Mann leads the public school reform movement, as a leader of the Massachusetts Senate; Mann championed the creation of a state education board. He advanced the idea of free public schools that all children were required to attend by law. Mann also led the fight to abolish corporal, or physical, punishment. He influenced state legislatures across the country to set aside funds to support free public schools. The reformers faced refusal from reluctant taxpayers and those who thought that education should include religious teaching. Despite opposition, the percentage of American children attending school doubled. Women played a good role in the school reform movement....
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