A Step Towards Democracy: The Jacksonain Era

848 Words Jun 16th, 2018 4 Pages
The years between 1825 through 1850 were filled with reforms ranging from political reforms to religious reforms. This era is commonly known as the Jacksonian Era. Prior to the Jacksonian Era, the early 19th century was classified to be a period of extreme instability. The Jacksonian Era involved many new ideas such as King Mob, the spoils system, expansion towards the West, and the Bank War. These characteristics of the Jacksonian Era brought stability and set a foundation for which its people could start reform movements. Even though not all these reforms were successful, they all had the goal of expanding democratic ideals.
The first democratic ideal that was tried to expand was the right to individuality. The United States of America
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Along with the right to individuality, ability to improve was another democratic ideal that was attempted to be expanded throughout the United States of America. In the fourth annual report on Juvenile Delinquents in the City of New York in 1829, the source wrote, “[United States of America] was the first to adopt the penitentiary system of prison discipline, and the first to attempt to prevent the commission of crimes, by seeking out the youthful and unprotected… by giving them industrious and orderly habits, rescuing them from vice and rendering them valuable members of society.” This report and more importantly the prison reforms for juveniles are very important in expanding democratic ideals because of their methodology. Unlike popular thought, the reformers are exercising the thought that all humans have the ability to change. Many people would argue that a prison reform is needed to keep out the criminals from the public, but the prison reformers are saying that a prison reform is needed to change the morals and values held by a so-called criminal. Another example comes from Charles G. Finney in 1834. He said, “When the churches are… awakened and reformed, the reformation and salvation of sinners will follow, going through the same stages of conviction, repentance, and reformation.” Charles Finney, an evangelist and the leader of the Second Great Awakening, believed in the idea that through church, one will be be free of one’s sins. He continued
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