From: Karmen Lewis
Time: 7:17:10 PM
Remote Name: 188.8.131.52
Karmen L Lewis History67 Tuesday/Thursday William Cutler 3/26/00
Text Question: Why is the period between 1830 and 1860 known as an era of reform? Were the reforms intended to increase or decrease personal freedom?
A) Between the years of 1830-1860 many Americans believed something should be done to make life better. When they found conditions that they though were unfair of wrong they tried to change or reform the situations. These people were often called reformers. They wrote books, articles, and held meetings, explaining what they thought were wrong. Reformers in the North wanted to so something about slavery. These reformers/abolitionist insisted that slavery be abolished. A New England man by the name of Lloyd Garrison wrote a informative letter trying to convince people that slavery was wrong, unfortunately this news letter failed. Garrison returned to Massachusetts and began publishing a new newspaper called The Liberator. Even though this newspaper was not as successful as Garrison hoped, it stirred up bitter feelings in the North as well as the south. Other famous African American leaders were: Fredrick Douglass, William Wells Brown, Sojourner Truth, and James Forten. All of these people helped or at least tried to improve the conditions and treatment of slaves and other black people. In the early 1800ís, people who committed minor crimes were sent to prison, where they were cruelly treated. Conditions in these prisons themselves were often very bad. Many people came out of prison worse than they had been before they went in. Dorothea Dix, spoke and tremendously wrote about the prison conditions. In addition, she was also determined to improve the conditions under which the mentally ill lived. In those days it was a disgrace to be mentally ill. These patients were often mistreated, abused and ignored by society. A good deal of attention was also given to the to the problem of alcoholism. People often addicted to alcohol lost their jobs, committed crimes, and created dysfunctional families. Temperance societies were formed to teach people the negative effects alcohol had on people and society. Many women took an active part in the abolitionist and temperance movement and other reforms. But they found it hard to get people to listen to them. As women reformers worked to help and reform society, they became interested in gaining more freedom for themselves and other women. A convention was held in 1848, for womenís rights. The delegates drew up a document of rights, asking for more equal treatment. The foremost leader in the fight for better education was Horace Mann, secretary of the Massachusetts Board of Education. Mann insisted that free public schools should be open to the children of all people. B) Many of these improvements and reforms showed that Americans cared about the condition of their people. In my opinion reforms intended to increase personal freedom. I feel better treatment and education of people lead to the increasing of personal freedom.