America was expanding in the early 1800s, politically, economically, and socially. Many movements occurred during this time, particularly from 1825 to 1850, aimed to better laws, institutions, and society and to spread democracy overall. Although the religious, penal, education, and feminist reform movements in the United States sought to expand democratic ideals, the temperance and abolitionist reform movements ended up limiting democracy.
The religious, penal, education, and feminist reform movements sought to expand democratic ideals, and that is exactly what they did. In the 1820s, Charles G. Finney, a Presbyterian minister, led the Second Great Awakening, or the religious revival. Finney preached that harlots, drunkards, and infidels could be ÃÂsavedÃÂ through hard work and a steadfast faith in God (Document B). The religious revival was brought on to fight against deism. Finney pushed forth the creation of city churches, where everyone could come together to improve society. The religious reform movement expanded democratic ideals by telling people that they could take control of their own fate and could have the same rights as others if they just worked hard and had a strong faith in god.
It pushed the equality of everyone in the country and also gave people the idea of perfecting society by starting other reform movements. Prior to the penal reform movement, the mentally ill and criminals were put together in prisons. The punishments were cruel and the conditions were unbearable. Dorothea Dix pushed the separation of the ill from the criminal and for the improvement of mental institutions to care for the mentally ill. As a result of the asylum reform movement, the penal reform movement was brought forward. Before, prisoners were just serving time in jail, not gaining anything from the experience. They gained no new skill and were sure to commit crimes again,