Major Reforms from 1790-1860

Essay by Casey IngleHigh School, 10th gradeA+, April 1997

download word file, 3 pages 3.9

'We are reformers in spring and summer, in autumn and winter we stand by the old; reformers in the morning, conservatives at night. Reform is affirmative, conservatism is negative; conservatism goes for comfort, reform for truth.'

--Ralph Waldo Emerson

The time period of 1790-1860 can be characterized as an age of reform and rebirth. The character of an American emerged. No longer was an American symbolized as solely a war hero or politician, now there were scholars, scientists, and artists. This idea of reform and rebirth occurred in response to many altercations, although mainly rests on the victorious outcomes of the War of Independence and the War of 1812. The nation as a whole felt a sense of nationalistic pride, and using this pride as inspiration, challenged themselves to better the nation. The 'Age of Reform,' served as the establishment of the American culture, and through this establishment laid the groundwork for all American citizens.

As the American society began to take shape, the idea of a revamped, free educational system was greatly supported. This reform of the educational system had aims at eliminating the famed 'one-room schoolhouse,' and thus creating a longer, expanded, and improved curriculum. The head of this reform was Massachusetts' Horace Mann. Mann, secretary of the Massachusetts Board of Education, campaigned effectively for this expanded curriculum, and soon after influenced the entire national educational system. Not only did preliminary education undergo diversity, so did higher education. The previously founded colleges of William and Mary, Harvard, and Princeton offered little more than religious boredom. The nation began to recognize this dilemma and many state-supported colleges began to emerge. The brainchild of Thomas Jefferson, The University of Virginia, was perhaps the greatest example of state-supported

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education. The University declared itself free from political...