AGE OF REFORMS- 1820-1860

February 23- March 25, 2015



            The early 19th century was a time in American history when a variety of reform movements swept the country in the hope of improving the lives of all Americans. During this unit we will examine some of the attempts to reform society. Of these movements, the effort to abolish slavery was the largest and the one with the greatest immediate result, culminating in the Civil War and emancipation of slaves. Although women did not gain the right to vote until 1920, the women’s rights movement grew out of the abolitionist movement. The Seneca Falls Conference in 1848 resulted in the writing of the Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions. This period also saw efforts to improve education, improve the treatment of the poor and the mentally ill, improve prison conditions, and end the drinking of alcohol.



  1. Students will analyze and understand the reform movements of the early 19th century.
  2. Students will identify the leaders of the reform movements, and analyze the impact that these reformers had on the lives of Americans.
  3. Students will practice reading and interpreting primary source documents.
  4. Students will practice interpreting history from specific and/or neutral viewpoints.
  5. Students will connect the problems of early 19th century society with corresponding modern problems.



  1. Actively participate in class activities. You will receive grades for class participation.
  2. Read the two sections of your textbook listed below and complete the written assignment. TYPED assignment due at the beginning of class on Thurs., Mar. 5 for SS 1, 3 and Fri., Mar. 6 for SS 2, 4, 5.
  1. social reform                                    7. prohibition

  2. Second Great Awakening   8. Dorothea Dix (prison reform

  3. Charles Finney                     and treatment of mentally ill)

  4. Utopian communities           9. public schools

  5. Robert Owen                       10. Horace Mann

  6. Temperance movement      11. Prudence Crandall

  1. What solutions did the American Colonization Society propose to end slavery?

  2. Why did most African Americans reject the society’s goals?

  3. Which groups in the North were opposed to abolition and why?

  4. What tactics were used by abolitionists to oppose slavery? Write a paragraph that includes three examples of these tactics.


    3.   Read the following section of your textbook and answer the assigned questions. TYPED assignment due at the beginning of class on Tues., March 10 for SS 1,  2, 3 and Wed. March 11 for SS 4, 5.