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Analysis Of The Reform Movements Of 1825-1850

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A government for the people, by the people, requires input from all its citizens. The American experiment is a great success that has inspired others to defend the voices of all its citizens. Yet, this was not always so. In the early years of our great democratic experiment we had reserved those unalienable rights to a select few. We discriminated based on race, gender, and color. Therefore, reformers began calling for changes. The reform movements of 1825-1855 in the U.S helped further develop democratic ideals by creating a new range of voters that were more educated, diverse, and healthy. It accomplished this by advocating towards women's suffrage, abolition, which would lead to African-American suffrage, progression towards a better educational…show more content…
The first major group that had their humanity striped from them, and where even treated as merchandise, were the slaves. Advocates for abolition sought to free slaves and give them the same rights that others had, which would expand the democratic institution already set in place. In document 1 William Lloyd Garrison underlines the sheer insult that slavery is to democracy by giving clear, haunting, images of the treatment of slaves and emphasizing that the issue is affecting millions of people. His argument presented that those who supported slavery, supported the inhumane treatment of other humans, and were threatening towards the ideals of freedom, liberty, and the pursuit happiness that this nation was formed on. Another misrepresented group of individuals, facing encroachment on their civil right to justice and liberty, where those diagnosed with mental illness. During this time in America we had no asylums or mental hospitals. Thus, many mentally-ill were sent to prisons and were treated unjustly. In document 5, Dorothea Lynde Dix makes an effective case towards the making a state hospital for the protection and cure of the insane. In her argument, like that of William Lloyd Garrison in document 1, she supports her claims with vivid descriptions of the injustices this group of people faces.…show more content…
Arguments against the claim that those reform movements expanded democratic ideals include stating that they did not directly result in women’s suffrage, since that happened after world war one; or abolition, since the emancipation proclamation didn’t happen until the civil war. While it is true that slavery wasn’t outlawed until the civil war and woman’s right to vote wasn’t granted until after world war one, it is important to note that reasons for those results originate in this reform movement. For example, women’s suffrage was granted after WW1 and was passed mostly because of the work they did in factories during the war, but the idea that if a woman can do the same thing a man can, and just as well, they should have the same rights has its origins in these reforms movements. Also, the emancipation proclamation was greatly influenced by the arguments formed during this time. In conclusion, the ideals of democracy were greatly expanded on during the reforms of 1825-1855 because it expanded the voter basis and expanded the ideals of freedom and liberty to more than just the white
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