CHAPTER 13: COMING TO TERMS WITH THE NEW AGE
WOMEN’S REFORM MOVEMENTS
Primary Involvement: Through Churches
Women helped spread the new public education system pioneered by Horace Mann of Massachusetts. This replaced the system of private education and elitism in who was able to attend school. Women like Catherine Beecher were also involved in teacher training for women, which was one of the first careers to open its doors to women.
Women were involved in the movement to limit or prohibit the sale and consumption of alcohol. Many were involved through evangelical Christian movements.
There was movement by women to “rescue” prostitutes and reform them. Also there was a women-driven movement to reform prison and mental asylums, led by Dorothea Dix. The idea was to reform, rather than incarcerate, prisoners and patients, and prisons were built on this model (ex. Ossining, or “Sing Sing” Prison in New York).
The Grimke Sisters: Sarah and Angelina Grimke, of a South Carolina slaveholding family, moved north to join a Quaker community in Philadelphia because of their objection to slavery. They used their first-hand accounts of the “peculiar institution” to speak to several high ranking groups. Because they were criticized as women for speaking out, they became involved in the feminist movement.
Seneca Falls Convention of 1848 (New York):
This was the first women’s rights convention in American history, and it met yearly after the first meeting. Over the years the convention altered property and divorce laws in favor of women, and women began to gain the vote in some Western states.
Apocalyptic religions grew in areas of rapid change, such as the Erie Canal region, where there was much change in the Industrial Revolution. Economic struggles in the mid-19th century made some fear the end of the world.
The Millerites—followers of...