Reform In 1830's Essay

1269 words - 5 pages

Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness were explicitly stated by our founding fathers in the Declaration of Independence as unalienable rights that the government was to secure. The Declaration of Independence was the foundation of the American Revolution and the protection of those unalienable rights became the center of the ideals of the American Revolution. Half a century later, reformers concerned with abolition, women's rights and education helped to fulfill these ideals during the 1830's and 1840's. The reformers represented a fulfillment of the ideals of the American Revolution by demanding that the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness be protected for all Americans in three ways: accessible education for the poor, the liberty of blacks and the equality of women.Horace Mann's report to the state legislature in 1849 showed some of the reasons why his ideas of education reform were congruent with the ideals of the American Revolution. Mann was the secretary of the Massachusetts Board of Education in the 1830's and 1840's and the leading advocate of taxpayer-supported schools. He declared that education was "the great equalizer of the conditions of men, the balance-wheel of the social machinery…It gives man the independence and the means, by which he can resist the selfishness of other men. It does better than to disarm the poor of their hostility towards the rich; it prevents being poor." Mann outlined the benefit of a strong educated population, aside from the immediate benefit to the nation's schoolchildren. Equality was one of the most important ideals of the American Revolution, and Mann described that if the nation had an educated youth, it would have a more equal society. At that time there was a large poor working class that reported to a small, elite rich group for work each day. Education could create opportunity to those who were born into a lower class and provide them with an equal chance to become the upper class business owner. The right to the pursuit of happiness was the main ideal of the American Revolution that education reformers like Mann helped to fulfill. Mann explained that taxpayer-supported public education would make schools accessible to more American children than before. That meant an equal opportunity for rich and poor alike to become successful and wealthy. Education would allow persons of all classes to be intelligent, and Mann claimed that "For the creation of wealth, then, for the existence of a wealthy people, and a wealthy nation, intelligence is the grand condition." The grand condition of which he spoke was congruent with the grand conditions outlined in the Declaration of Independence. The increase in opportunity for the average person to become wealthy meant that more people were able to pursue happiness.More people able to pursue happiness, however, did not necessarily mean that women were among those people. Reformers concerned with women's rights were very active trying...

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