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Social Reform

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Essay title: Social Reform

Many things can contribute to the rise of social reform in the 1800's. Many scholars such Ralph Waldo Emerson or Edgar Allen Poe, helped lead the reform era. But the most some of the most important ideas that encouraged social reform was the Second Great Awakening, Industrialization, and nostalgia. All three played a very important role and had key people who helped jump start a era of reformation.

People knew that it was time for a change and they knew they had to do something about it. Thats when the Second Great Awakening came to a boil. Led by people such as Charles Grandison Finney, Peter Cartwright, and Lyman Beecher, the Second Great Awakening really did “awaken” the people of the United States to start getting back into religion and trying to make a difference. As soon as this was brought up, revivals starting springing up all over the United States. Especially in upper New York or the “Burned-Over District”. These revivals encouraged an effervescent evangelicalism that bubbled up into a number of areas in American life, including prison reform, the temperance movement, the womans rights movement, and the cause to abolish slavery. These revivals encouraged people like Dorthea Dix to help get the mentally ill and woman out of the same prisons and get their own and to also have better living conditions. She found that people with insanity were treated worse than normal criminals. She traveled over 60,000 miles in eight years gathering information for her reports. These reports brought about change immediately in treatment and that insanity was a disease of the mind and not a willfully perverse act by that person.

The Temperance movement was the attempt to reduce the amount of alcohol consumed or even prohibit its production and consumption entirely. The different religious revivals that were taking place were a great effect on why this movement came into affect. It was lead by most Christian woman that wanted alcohol gone because of the domestic violence that was going on and the impact it had on households that were part of a low-income working class. The Maine Law ,passed in 1851 in Maine, was one of the first statutory implementations of the developing temperance movement in the United States. It was put in by temperance activist Neal Dow. The passage of the law, which prohibited the sale of all alcoholic beverages except for "medicinal, mechanical or manufacturing purposes," quickly spread elsewhere, and by 1855 twelve states had joined Maine in total prohibition. Those states that had passed the law were known as the “dry” states. Those that had not passed the law were known as “wet” states.

The Second Great Awakening also led to a womans rights reformation. The womans rights reformation was directed towards getting woman freedoms inherently possessed by women and girls of all ages, which may be institutionalized, ignored or suppressed by law, custom, and behavior in a particular society. Issues commonly associated with notions of women's rights include, though are not limited to, the right: to bodily integrity and autonomy; to vote; to hold public office; to work; to fair wages or equal pay; to own property; to education; to serve in the military; to enter into legal contracts; and to have marital, parental and religious rights. One of these rights sparked womans suffrage which aimed at getting woman the right to vote. The Second Great awakening first led woman to be Christian, which in turn, led them to start establishing themselves rights. Including the right to vote. Another major step for the Second Great Awakening was how it lead to Abolishing slavery. Abolitionism began during the Second Great Awakening and grew to large proportions in the United States. It eventually succeeded in some its goals, although child and adult slavery and forced labor continue to be widespread to this day. The Second Great Awakening contributed in major ways with all of the movements that went on during this period. Even though it may be in a small way, it worked out in the end in a huge way!

Industrialization, in many ways, helped develop social reform. The lack of a large industry sector is widely seen as a major handicap in a country's economy, pushing many governments to encourage or enforce industrialization through artificial means. It helped the economy develop from a bad economy with hardly any money coming in to a good economy with lots of money coming in. It also led to many people getting jobs because of all the factories that were springing up all over the United States. It led to people being financially sound and being able to support themselves no matter where they lived. Many Americans wanted to reduce poverty, improve the living conditions of the poor,

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