The Era of reform

During the 1800's, Americans were starting to question society. Religion was being revived which influenced groups to stand up and fight for their beliefs. Here are some of the changes they fought for. 

This photo shows women campaigning for women's suffrage. During the 1800's, women were not allowed to vote. Many saw this as a problem and started striving to make a difference. Voting is a huge right and is a big part of America. Being prohibited from fulfilling this part is very unfair. Shouldn't adults be allowed to choose who will lead and pave the way for their futures? Not being allowed to do that just because you are a different gender is wrong. That is why people tried to change this. If they hadn't fought and made these changes, women may still not be allowed to vote. The U.S. would be very male dominant and lots of history would be changed. Many women would not have had the courage to be successful and hold high positions. That would be horrible because their inputs have shaped and influenced many decisions. If it wasn't for women's rights and suffrage movements, women would still be looked at and treated as slaves.
Dorothea Dix is a women known for reforming the treatment of the mentally ill and prisoners. She got the sense for this reform when she visited a prison in 1841. She learned children could be placed in the same cells as murderers and adult criminals. She also saw that prisoners and the mentally ill were chained and beaten. In debtor's prison, prisoners were locked up and not able to make any money, forcing them to stay imprisoned. Dorothea saw this as a major problem and worked extremely hard to gather information so she could one day write to the government. When she did do this, they addressed these issues and they made the changes she asked for. If it wasn't for Dorothea Dix, treatment of the mentally ill and prisoners would be very cruel. Since people usually didn't get out of prison, the government would be spending much more money on caring for prisoners, making taxes much higher. Casualties and injuries due to misbehavior would be much greater as well. Our society would not be as nice and friendly of a place.
Many households experienced the affects and dangers of alcohol which lead them to try and stop its use. This campaign was called the Temperance Movement. The Temperance Movement was mostly lead by women, for they had seen what the drink made their husbands do. They said alcohol caused poverty, torn families, and abuse. They made posters and even had people sign pledges. If the Temperance Movement hadn't occurred, alcohol would probably be used much more often than it is now. That would cause more drunk driving and cruel actions. Besides showing the dangers of alcohol, the Temperance Movement also gave women the courage to stand up and fight for their beliefs and lives. This helped pave the way for gender equality.
Phillis Wheatley was the first published female African-American poet but back in the 1800's, African-Americans were not allowed to read or write. Most women and African-Americans couldn't attend school to learn how. People started to question why they couldn't receive an education and changes started to be made. Horace Mann had a lot to do with it. He really pushed being sure everyone was educated and at one point he was the Principal of Oberlin College, the first college to accept women and African-Americans. Being sure everyone goes to school is extremely important to be sure our society is as advanced as it needs to be and ensures that right choices are being made. We can't have people voting for president based on how good someone's hair looks! Also, nothing will ever progress if people aren't learning about what has happened. So many advancements have been made by women and African-Americans that would not have occurred if they hand't attended school. We would be living in the past if only certain people could receive an education.
Reform has shaped our lives in many ways. If people had not worked to make these reforms, nothing would ever progress. All of the contributions made by people other than white males would never have existed. The U.S. would be really bland. Actually, not just the U.S, but the whole world. Our history and what goes on in the U.S. has shaped and influenced the ways of other countries. The same can go the other way around. Reform is extremely contagious. America fought in the Revolutionary War to win its independence from Britain. Years later Mexico did the same with Spain. Reform is one of the most important things of all time. It helps us show who we are and helps us progress to be even better; both individually and as a whole. Reform has a huge influence on what we become.
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