The Reform Movement’s Impact on Health and Education


US History Life Before the Civil War The Reform Movement's Impact on Health and Education
Students learn about the impact of movements for the reform of mental health care, prisons, education, and the care of the disabled. They focus on Dorothea Dix, reformer for prisons and mental health institutions, and Horace Mann, educational reformer. Then they elaborate on the connection between the Second Great Awakening and the nineteenth century reform movements.

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Overview

In this experience, students learn about the impact of movements for the reform of mental health care, prisons, education, and the care of the disabled. They focus on Dorothea Dix, reformer for prisons and mental health institutions, and Horace Mann, educational reformer. Then they elaborate on the connection between the Second Great Awakening and the nineteenth century reform movements.

Objectives:

  • Explain how political and religious trends, including the Second Great Awakening, inspired reform movements.
  • Describe the impact of movements for temperance and for the reform of mental health care and prisons.
  • Explain the impact of movements for the reform of education and care for the disabled.


During the antebellum era—the years between the War of 1812 and the Civil War—Americans started a number of different social reform movements hoping to improve society and life for underprivileged Americans.

These movements included social reform, prison and asylum reform, education reform, and the temperance movement, which focused on reducing the use of alcohol in society.

Objectives:

  • Explain how political and religious trends, including the Second Great Awakening, inspired reform movements.
  • Describe the impact of movements for temperance and for the reform of mental health care and prisons.
  • Explain the impact of movements for the reform of education and care for the disabled.




Religious Camp Meeting Inspires Social Reform


Let’s see how many nineteenth century reform movements you can identify. 


Which of the following movements were active in the United States during the first half of the nineteenth century?

A) temperance movement
B) abolitionist movement
C) animal rights movement
D) educational reform movement
E) Tea Party movement
F) mental health and prison reform movement
G) labor movement

What do you think might have brought on these types of reform movements?

Post your answer

Discuss with students some of their responses. Explain that in this experience they will be learning about a religious awakening that occurred in this country in the mid-1800s. At this time, people became more aware of the treatment of the poor, sick, and imprisoned. The religious movement promoted the idea that individuals can make a difference and can work to improve the lives of those around them.


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