Reform Movement in the United States sought to expand democratic ideals." Assess the validity of this statement with specific references to the years 1825 to 1850.

Essay by satellite8100High School, 11th gradeA-, January 2004

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The protestant revival movement that began in the 1790s in New England caused reforms in America. Between 1825 and 1850, the United States government made reforms that greatly increased the influence of democratic ideals: universal suffrage and individual rights. Such reforms included prisons, churches, women suffrage, temperance, and education.

Prison reforms expanded democratic ideals through the change in policies and mission statements. Debtor prisons were abolished, the number of capitol crimes was reduced, and prison became a place of reform as well as punishment. As shown in document A, the Fourth Annual Report, Society for the Reformation of Juvenile Delinquents in the City of New York, 1829, stated, "To confine these youthful criminals . . . where little can be leaned but the ways of the wicked." It is saying that the prisons originally were bad and that reforming people would be useless and therefore the reform of the prisons would fix this problem and therefore be able to save individual rights and become clean.

Church reforms also expanded democratic ideals through allowing freedom of religion and expansion of different sects. As Charles G. Finney in 1834 said, "When the churches are . . . awakened and reformed . . . the reformation and salvation of sinners will follow." He is saying that because the church reformed, the people will reform in the same way. Therefore, by using this information, one can say that because the church's rights were more readily expressed, the people would also have more individual rights.

Woman suffrage was the most dominate traits that greatly increased the democratic ideals of United States. As woman rights began to increase, women showed that they were more independent as shown through the cult of domesticity. Women were original similar to the status of slaves because they had no...