In early America between the years of 1825-1850, America was rapidly changing and reforming the way people lived. Societal problems and major discrepancies that had previously been overlooked began to rapidly gain awareness. The main idea of the reforms in the United States at this time was the relatively new sense of Democracy. Reform sought to maximize these benefits in light of Democracy and for this reason came up with many changes in which greater good can be found through freedom, justice, and equality of all people.
In addition to extending social and political equality for women and the means to economic affluence for the poor (through education), a number of reforms also extended to various oppressed groups of freedom and justice. Abolitionists in the North sought to emancipate slaves in the cotton-cultivating South through the use of moral suasion as revealed by Patrick Reason's engraving showing the deprivation of the Negro race in regards to their rights as humans, and later, political freedoms. The penitentiary movement began by Dorothea Dix reformed the nation's prisons and insane asylums to improve the living conditions and treatment of criminals, paupers, and emotionally disturbed persons. Separate penitentiaries were later instituted for the reformation of juvenile delinquents. Instead of "confining without distinction the more and less vicious", where the latter can learn "little but the ways of the wicked", their separation will salvage the less vicious through "religious and moral instruction" and "render them valuable members of society". Democratic ideals inspired many reforms from 1825-1850. One such ideal was equality for all people in the United States. Many reformers were especially concerned with those in prison and how they would be treated upon release. Many people, such as those for the Reformation of Juvenile Delinquents, in 1829, hoped that upon release ex-prisoners would become "valuable members of society," but knew that this...
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