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19th Century America

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Before the Civil War in America ended the reformers had launched a number of movements that aimed to social welfare. Like educate the deaf and blind, rehabilitation and curing of the mentally ill persons, and tried to extend equal rights to women. Abolishing slavery was one of the most important agendas too. The utopian socialists aimed to establish ideal communities to serve as the models for a better world in the future. All the recent systems of public schools, prisons and hospitals are all direct products of the first age of American reform.

One of the most important movements of America in the times was the Second Great Awakening. It was a Christian religious movement which took place during the 19th century in the United States of America. It expressed the thought of Arminian theology which stressed on the statement that every person can be saved through revivals. The processed enrolled millions of members and in the time led to the formation of new denominations. As per many thinkers and converts, it started a new millennia age. Basically the Second Great Awakening ultimately stimulated the established many reform movements that aimed to eliminate evils of the society before the ‘second coming of Jesus’. The evangelical mission of the reform was to give women more status in the society. The frontier revivals featured emotional appeals and provided social meetings for the settlers. New religious groups were formed like Shakers who were socially radical and mormons who believed Joseph Smith as a prophet. Other than that there were also a number of non-religious communities like New Harmony of Illinois and Brook Farm Experiment. Religious intervention and non –religious tryout together can be viewed as an unique aspect of the movement.

Other areas of early social reform along with the empowerment of women were temperance and education. Abolitionism was another very important aspect of the movement. The American Colonization Society gradually aimed to emancipate black people and also tried to settle them in Africa. Prison and legal codes were reformed to. There were a reduction in the crimes that were punishable by death, and public hangings were abolished in many states among other different things. Reforming of criminals were also began at that time. There were programs that aimed to develop basic grammar schools through out America too.

If we look at the processes carefully we will see that all these programs were connected in many ways. Basically it was the brainchild of several very learned persons and so it aimed to change the thorough working of the society. Whether it is the woman’s empowering or the abolishment of slavery, setting up schools and hospitals and schools, it was only to take the general people to a new level. The religious sects were a part of the movement, as their ideologies lost their shine they went out of date, but the main motivation was left intact and probably it helped America to grow up from a long sleep. For example, we can take the idea of reforming criminals and re-establishing the criminals to Africa. Both of them had a close connection, to give the people a second chance to have a better life. The abolitionists were one of the most learned parts of the community and their processes were really important in the discussion. There might be sparks of sectional conflicts, but still one has to give credit to their ideologies. They led the foundation stone for the modern American society that still prevails. This is why the Second Reform Movement is one of the most important parts in American history.


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