Antabellum Dbq Essay

Submitted By kevinnnwilsonnn
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From 1825 to 1850 America was undergoing many political, social, and economic changes. During the antebellum period, the idea of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness (all the ideas that basically defined a democrat began to spread across The United States. Some reforms like the abolition and women’s rights were democratic, the penitentiary and education reform wanted to better society, and the nativism and utopia reforms were very undemocratic. Each reform was very different and had different goals, some achieving their goals, and some not. Although, the reforms such as abolition and women’s rights sought to expand democratic ideas, the education, temperance, and penitentiary movements were more focused creating a more conservative society during this time period.
The major movement of this time period was the abolitionist movement and women’s rights; which can go hand and hand because the supporters of these movements both wanted equality for everyone. The ideas of these movements were very democratic. In an engraving by Patrick Reason(doc c) it is depicting a black female in chains saying “Am I not a woman and a sister?”, which was made to show how the abolition and women’s right movements tie into each other by spreading the democratic idea of equality. Many other non-slave women who were apart of them feminism movement, also strongly opposed slavery; one example being Susan B. Anthony. Anthony (like many other women) was heavily influenced by Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who aggressively fought for the equal rights of women. Elizabeth played a vital role in the Seneca Falls Declaration, where she called for women to be equal as man, representation in government, and the right to vote(doc I). Elizabeth, like many other women during this time believed the very democratic beliefs that women were just as important as men and lived under the same laws, therefore, should be equal to man. Women weren’t the only people to have these beliefs, men such as William Lloyd Garrison, Wendell Phillips, and Frederick Douglass also believed that women and men could co-exist in the fight for equality. The abolition and women’s rights movements were geared toward democratic ideas of equality for all Americans.
Another reform during this time was the “Reformation of Juvenile Delinquents”, the people of New York City weren’t happy with the way younger criminals were placed. They believed that the younger criminals shouldn’t be placed with the other prisoners in normal prisons; they did not want the youth to be exposed to even more evil ways, therefore the House of refuge was eventually changed, thus creating the penitentiary system( doc A). One very important person to this was Dorothea Dix, who traveled across the country visiting asylums and prisons. Through her work, she helped spread the ideas that children shouldn’t be placed in these places and proved that people who were considered “crazy”, actually were mentally ill. She contributed to the building of new hospital and the improving of other hospitals. The penitentiary reform did not spread democratic idea, however they did create a better society. To go along with making life better for the promising youth of America, and education reform also took place. These reformers called for all children to be able to attend school at no cost so that they could prepare them to vote and prevent children from turning to a life of crime. However, this was not the life of many children during this time; many children could not go to school or could only go very little because they had to help their family with work(doc E). Poor families could not afford the cost of schooling during this time so their children were not able to attend so were never educated and then never voted; this was written in hopes to persuade the price of schooling to go down so all children has the same opportunities in life. These movements focused more on creating better opportunities for the children of America, rather