Women Reformers

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The temperance movement of the 19th and early 20th centuries was an organized effort to encourage moderation in the consumption of intoxicating liquors or press for complete abstinence. The movement's ranks were mostly filled by women who, with their children, had endured the effects of uncontrolled drinking by many of their husbands. These organizations used many arguments to convince their countrymen of the evils of alcohol. They argued that alcohol was a cause of poverty. They said that drunk workers often lost their jobs; or that they would spend their wages on alcohol instead of their homes and families. "Men spent money on alcohol that their families needed for basic necessities, and drunken husbands often abused their wives and children (American History, A Survey, Alan Brinkley, PG 32,7 2003). The temperance societies also claimed that drinking led to hell. Temperance supporters argued that alcohol produced insanity and crime. It destroyed families, hurting women and children. They claimed that drunkenness was a worse evil than slavery. The temperance movement continued into the 20th century, when it would achieve its greatest victory; the 18th Amendment to the Constitution, the prohibition of the manufacture and sale of alcohol in the United States. Producing a system of universal education became one of the outstanding movements of the mid 19th century. Horace Mann, the greatest of the educational reformers, was the first secretary of the Massachusetts Board of Education. He used his position to enact major educational reform. He spearheaded the Common School Movement, ensuring that every child could receive a basic education funded by local taxes. Mann reorganized the Massachusetts school system, lengthened the academic year, doubled teachers' salaries, enriched the curriculum and introduced new methods of professional training for teachers (American History, A Survey, Alan Brinkley, PG 330, 2003). His influence soon spread beyond...
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