Reform movements including religion, temperance, abolition, and women’s rights sought to expand democratic ideals in the years 1825 to 1850. However, certain movements, such as nativism and utopias, failed to show the American emphasis on a democratic society. The reform movements were spurred by the Second Great Awakening, which began in New England in the late 1790's, and would eventually spread throughout the country. The Second Great Awakening differed from the First in that people were now believed to be able to choose whether or not to believe in God, as opposed to previous ideals based on Calvinism and predestination.
According to Charles G. Finney, the role of the church is to reform society (Doc. B). In 1834, he said, "When the churches are...awakened and reformed, the reformation and salvation of sinners will follow." Finney had been influenced by Second Great Awakening ideals. He goes on to say that "drunkards, harlots, and infidels" would also be converted do to reform by the church. In this sense, the Second Great Awakening helped expand democratic ideals by bettering the moral standards of the common man. In 1835, Another example of democratic growth can be shown by Document C, where Patrick Reason created an engraving depicting a black female slave in chains and shackles. Above her is the quote, ‘Am I not a woman and a sister?’ This reflects how the abolition and women's movements often tied into one another since both of these movements helped expand democratic ideals in that they desired increased rights, such as suffrage for minorities. For example, The Grimke sisters, Angelina and Sarah were southern abolitionists who also played a role in the Women's Movement. Susan B. Anthony who was a Quaker, was therefore opposed to the immorality slavery but also played a role in the movement calling for equality and rights of women. Anthony was inspired by Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who was also active in both movements, but very famous for her aggressive action in the Women’s Movement, which can be shown by Document I. Elizabeth Cady Stanton played a very important role in The Seneca Falls Convention of 1848. This convention also sought to expand democratic ideals, and more radically than perhaps any other event of any movement. They produced a declaration which stated that all men and women are created equal, and should therefore be treated equal. Stanton believed that women should be equally “represented in the government” and demanded for the right to vote. This can be confirmed by an excerpt (Doc I) from the Seneca Falls Declaration on August 2, 1848, where Stanton states that the women are "assembled to protest against a form of government, existing without the consent of the governed--to declare our right to be free as man is free." Education reform was also an important movement of this period. Universal manhood suffrage created the need for education reform. The common man began to demand education for his children, as represented in Document E. This movement sought to expand democratic ideals in that more educated people meant more people would be able to be productive members of society, meaning they could vote. An important supporter of the education reform movement was Horace Mann. Mann accepted the position of First Secretary of the State Board of Education in Massachusetts. He was known for his founding of the “Normal School for Teachers,” free libraries, and also helping to provide funds for the public education system by proving its importance to the nation. Alcohol abuse was also becoming widespread throughout the early 1800's. Alcohol abuse led to decreased efficiency of labor, which was a problem for businessmen and consumers alike. Therefore this spurred the Temperance Movement. An 1846 cartoon entitled "The Drunkards Progress. From The First Glass To The