Social Reform

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Many things can contribute to the rise of social reform in the 1800's. Many scholars such Ralph Waldo Emerson or Edgar Allen Poe, helped lead the reform era. But the most some of the most important ideas that encouraged social reform was the Second Great Awakening, Industrialization, and nostalgia. All three played a very important role and had key people who helped jump start a era of reformation.

People knew that it was time for a change and they knew they had to do something about it. Thats when the Second Great Awakening came to a boil. Led by people such as Charles Grandison Finney, Peter Cartwright, and Lyman Beecher, the Second Great Awakening really did “awaken” the people of the United States to start getting back into religion and trying to make a difference. As soon as this was brought up, revivals starting springing up all over the United States. Especially in upper New York or the “Burned-Over District”. These revivals encouraged an effervescent evangelicalism that bubbled up into a number of areas in American life, including prison reform, the temperance movement, the womans rights movement, and the cause to abolish slavery. These revivals encouraged people like Dorthea Dix to help get the mentally ill and woman out of the same prisons and get their own and to also have better living conditions. She found that people with insanity were treated worse than normal criminals. She traveled over 60,000 miles in eight years gathering information for her reports. These reports brought about change immediately in treatment and that insanity was a disease of the mind and not a willfully perverse act by that person.

The Temperance movement was the attempt to reduce the amount of alcohol consumed or even prohibit its production and consumption entirely. The different religious revivals that were taking place were a great effect on why this movement came into affect. It was lead by most Christian woman that wanted alcohol gone because of the...
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