f a NationWhen one hears the term democracy, the concept of rule by the people and freedom come into mind. Often reform movements, free elections, and suffrage activities fit into this category such as those of the period from 1825 to 1850 in the young United States. This period consisted Americans who rebelled against this newly adopted governmental concept, while others accepted it with relief that they had a voice in the governments decisions. The idea that the civilians could take control gave way to a new era of reform movements during this time period. The validity of the statement, Reform movements in the United States sought to expand democratic ideals, was both verified and rejected by the citizens of America of the mid 1850s, yet was completely valid. The fight for reformations of laws and institutions by the Americans showed desperate cries for freedom and furthermore, proof of the poor governmental policy that existed. As stated in Document F, the overall goal of reformers was to, unite a voluntary Association, and strive for equality and freedom for men and women of all races.
Leading up to the reform movement was the growth in the power of the national government and the expression of peoples feelings of defiance towards the decisions and laws created by government officials. Starting in 1825, when John Quincy Adams held the presidency, a number of reforms including the temperance movement; a movement hoping to ban alcohol consumption, the womens rights movement, and reforms related to education, religion, and imprisonment of criminals, were enforced in hope of massacring the current national government and giving the nation a more democratic union. While many American citizens were highly against these movements seeking freedom, QUACK EFORMERSthese systems of reform disown the past, condemn what has been, and propose the creation of an entirely new social order numerous African Americans in the south and white men and women in the north sacrificed their lives to obtain democratic rule in their beloved country (Document G). The temperance movement was reinforced by religious (Christian) and moral beliefs. US citizens felt the amount of alcohol consumption was ridiculous and caused the integrity of people to decline, and because the government had not stepped in and reinforced its danger of over consumption, the people felt it was their duty to stand up for what they felt was right.
Suffragettes, women who were determined to spread equality for women, started the Seneca Falls doctrine and acted as leaders of the womens rights movement. Ever since America was established when Columbus came across the Atlantic, women were not given he same rights as me. Unable to vote, and quarreling with politicians who were resistant to change, women created their own doctrine resembling the United States Declaration of Independence. According to Document I, the women of the Seneca Falls movement, assembled to protest against a form of government, existing without the consent of the government, and wished to, declare our right to be free as man is free. The main hope of the suffragettes was to gain their right to vote for government officials and the president. After the doctrine was established in Seneca Falls, NY, women in the north and south realized how unfairly they had been treated compared to men and followed the womens rights movement. Womens strive for a democratic nation spread throughout the people, rooting from women partitioning for their equality to men. Demonstrated in Document C, a woman bends down with her hands clasps and held in chains and asks the question, Am I not a woman and a sister? The African American woman ponders why she is not treated the same way as men and other white women. This is just one example of how the Declaration of Sentiments spread the idea of democracy to women across America.
The movement created to establish a successful penitentiary system marked the beginning of discipline over criminals and the hope of stopping crime and rebellion in cities. As stated in Document A, by seeking out the youthful and unprotected, who were in the way of temptation, and by religious and moral instruction, by imparting to them useful knowledge, and by giving them industrious and orderly habits, the prison system taught criminals the consequences that can come from their actions and prevented them fro causing uprisings and chaos. The establishment of this system of prisons promoted the democratic beliefs blossoming in the nation. If people were forced to control their actions and take responsibility over themselves, there would be less crime and therefore no need for imprisonment and degradation.
Beginning in the early 1820s, educational and religious values became popular among the American society. While women were formerly known for their housework and childcare, they began to take upon roles in education at collegiate levels. Wealthy families began sending their children to private schools and investing in doing whatever they could to make sure their kids had a proper education. Churches were built in most towns and served as a meeting place for the townspeople. Devout Christians looked to these churches for relief from the stress of the governmental situation of the mid 1800s and practiced their right to religious freedom. When the churches are awakened and reformed, the reformation and salvation of sinners will followHarlots, and drunkards, and infidels, and all sorts o abandoned characters , are awakened and converted (Document B). The Church served as a place for repentance and prayer. This along with the penitentiary system, kept the criminals and sinners practicing their beliefs and more so, aware of their sinful actions.
The democratic ideals present from 1825 to 1850 cam about because of the reform movements led by the men and women who felt strongly about changing the society of America. In one mans words, the strength numbers, allowed the country to unite and forget their differences, in order to proceed in gaining the freedoms and institutions they had hoped for (Document D). The national government of this time period was not particular strong when making national decisions such as suffrage rights. The number of reform movements allowed the government to see the beliefs of the people and the unpopular belief that the government should be controlled by the citizens of the country, rather than elected government officials.