Antebellum Reform Dbq Essay

811 words - 4 pages

The Antebellum Era between the years of 1825 to 1850 was abundant with many reform movements that signified great change within the people of the nation. Although many of these changes were good and lasting reforms, extremists’ stark views did the contrary and inhibited change. Luckily, reform movements such as the women’s rights movement, the abolition of slavery, and temperance all led the nation in the right direction towards the expansion of democratic ideals. These ideals encompass the belief that all citizens are equal and are entitled to certain unalienable rights.
However, the writers of the Constitution had omitted women in that pivotal statement which left women to be ...view middle of the document...

Realizing that drunkards quickly turn into criminals, the City of New York, in Document A, wanted to reform its prisons by providing “religious and moral instruction…and imparting to them useful knowledge…and rendering them valuable members of society” regardless of age and aiming at fair treatment. McGuffey emphasizes the theme of equality for all people, rich and poor and stresses education so that young children will grow up to become good citizens with good values.
Equal treatment is exactly what slaves wanted in the South. Slavery was generally still accepted in the South and seeing women trying to gain rights sparked the abolitionist movement seeking emancipation. ‘Am I not a Woman and a Sister?’ read an engraving by Patrick Reason (Doc C). Abolitionists tried to appeal to the women’s rights movement finding a common purpose. White Southerners justified the institution of slavery with the idea of paternalism that slaves could not survive in society if freed. Former slave Frederick Douglass disproved this idea with his intelligence and showed that African Americans do have the ability to be educated and intelligent as any White man. Those like Harriet Jacobs helped fight for true democracy and equality as she believed that we needed to educate slaves and to have equality for all.
Still, there are others who go too far. For example, Samuel Morse held paranoid beliefs that the United States would be infiltrated by foreigners and wanted to cease immigration into the country (Doc D). His...

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