The Antebellum Period: Reform Movements In America

1637 Words7 Pages
The Antebellum Period that lasted roughly from 1825–1850 is an era known for its many reform movements and major transformations in American society. Prior to the popularity of reform movements in American society was the 1828 election in which Andrew Jackson became the seventh president. Jackson professed himself the “champion of the common man,” where the “common man” meant white men. Nevertheless, his presidency caused the development of a more popular mass democracy, or Jacksonian Democracy as it is commonly referred to. The westward expansion that occurred during Jackson’s presidency lead to a shift in America’s economical makeup from a mercantile/market economy to capitalism. This adjustment in the economy brought about the Market Revolution,…show more content…
The penal reform that took place changed who was being sent to prison and the conditions inside prison. Before Dorothea Dix became the spokeswoman for prison reform, the penitentiaries did not have an effective system. Thousands of people were detained in special prisons designated for people in debt (debtors’ prisons), and adolescents were sent to prisons, as well as people with mental disabilities. The younger men and women in prisons were unable to learn how to fix their wrongdoings or understand right from wrong as they had no chances to determine what correct behavior was. Thought to be therapeutic for the mentally ill, solitary confinement did more harm than good; it virtually just worsened mental health of those being held in solitary confinement. There was no alternate option to the prisons with the circumstances mentioned until the establishment of the House of Refuge. The House of Refuge was the first juvenile reformatory that opened in the United States and gave delinquents a possibility learn how to change. This was a big step for prisoners to be able to rehabilitate and perhaps even assimilate back into society. Along with prison reform, education also experienced improvements, specifically public schooling. During this reform, America had one of the highest literacy rates in the world. Prior to the increase of public education for everyone, there were private schools, which only the wealthy were able to send their children to. The future of the country would, after all, be in the hands of the younger generations someday—not just the wealthy—and the children would need an education in order for America to flourish. Horace Mann advocated for free public education and teacher training. The teacher training courses were especially prominent for women who gained a new role in society as becoming school teachers. Another promoter for the education reform was Noah

More about The Antebellum Period: Reform Movements In America

Open Document