Lesson 8 Title: Leveling the Playing Field—America Reforms! Grade Level

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Lesson 8
Title: Leveling the Playing Field—America Reforms!
Grade Level: 8
Unit of Study: Expansion and Reform (Era 4)

U4.3.1 Explain the origins of the American education system and Horace Mann’s campaign for free compulsory public education.
U4.3.2 Describe the formation and development of the abolitionist movement by considering the roles of key abolitionist leaders (e.g., John Brown and the armed resistance, Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad, Sojourner Truth, William Lloyd Garrison, and Frederick Douglass), and the response of southerners and northerners to the abolitionist movement.
U4.3.3 Analyze the antebellum women’s rights (and suffrage) movement by discussing the goals of its leaders (e.g., Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton) and comparing the Seneca Falls Resolution with the Declaration of Independence.
U4.3.4 Analyze the goals and effects of the antebellum temperance movement.
U4.3.5 Evaluate the role of religion in shaping antebellum reform movements.
P4.2.1 Demonstrate knowledge of how, when, and where individuals would plan and conduct activities intended to advance views in matters of public policy, report the results, and evaluate effectiveness.
Common Core:
Abstract: Social and economic challenges impact citizen’s lives. Civic participation is essential for effective government.

Key Concepts: How did social and political inequalities in society lead to reform movements?

Sequence of Activities:

  1. Brainstorm a list of possible inequalities in United State in early to mid 1800s.

  2. Define terms: antebellum, abolition, suffrage, temperance, compulsory education – have

students connect these terms back to the brainstormed list.

  1. Review constitutional principles relating to citizen’s rights – assembly, petition, freedoms

– assist students in connecting to Core Democratic Values.

  1. Students work in small groups (jigsaw) focusing on one of the reform movements—

Prison reform, Education, Temperance, Abolition, Women’s Suffrage / Seneca Falls Convention -- to research and present the following:

  • Identify key leaders of the movement

  • Develop concise mission statement for the individual movement

  • Connect to religious teachings of the time period

  • Create an action plan and execute it in some visual presentation (poster, Glogster (which is an online Poster), Prezi, ad campaign, pamphlet/brochure, cartoon, commercial)

  • Teacher acts as facilitator and moderator to assure small groups present full information to class and highlight important vocabulary/events related to each movement.

5. Students present their projects to the class and ask their three follow up questions.


English Language Arts

Students may be asked to write an activity related to action plan/mission statement and presentation.

Students may give oral presentations to class.
Instructional Resources:


Access to research materials (online and/or textbooks)


Multimedia Projector

Poster paper

Student Resources

Copy of the Bill of Rights

Printout of Core Democratic Values

Project Guidelines for the reform movements project.

Printouts on various reform movements

Teacher Resources

Teacher account for glogster.edu.

[Bill of Rights]

The conventions of a number of the States having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added.
Article the first [Not Ratified]

After the first enumeration required by the first article of the Constitution, there shall be one Representative for every thirty thousand, until the number shall amount to one hundred, after which the proportion shall be so regulated by Congress, that there shall be not less than one hundred Representatives, nor less than one Representative for every forty thousand persons, until the number of Representatives shall amount to two hundred; after which the proportion shall be so regulated by Congress, that there shall not be less than two hundred Representatives, nor more than one Representative for every fifty thousand persons.

Article the second [Amendment XXVII - Ratified 1992]

No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of Representatives shall have intervened.

Article the third [Amendment I]

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Article the fourth [Amendment II][4]

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Article the fifth [Amendment III]

No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Article the sixth [Amendment IV]

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Article the seventh [Amendment V]

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Article the eighth [Amendment VI]

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

Article the ninth [Amendment VII]

In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Article the tenth [Amendment VIII]

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Article the eleventh [Amendment IX]

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Article the twelfth [Amendment X]

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Source: http://www.constitution.org/billofr_.htm

Core Democratic Values

This section is divided into two parts the Fundamental Beliefs (Often referred\ to as the Core Democratic Values of Elementary Students.) and the Constitutional Principals.

Fundamental Beliefs

Life: A person's right to life can't be violated except if your life or the lives of others is threatened.

Liberty: This includes personal freedom, political freedom, and economic freedom. This is the freedom for people to gather in groups. They have their own beliefs, ideas and opinions. People also have the right to express their opinions in public.

  • Personal Freedom - the right to think and act without government control.

  • Political Freedom - the right to participate in political process.

  • Economic Freedom - the right to buy, sell and trade private property and the right to employment without the government interfering.

The Pursuit of Happiness: As long as you don't interfere with others you have the right to seek happiness in your own way.

Common Good: Working together for the welfare of the community or the benefit of all.

Justice: All people should be treated fairly in both the benefits and the obligations of society. No individual or group should be favored over another person or group.

Equality: Everyone has the right to Political, Legal, Social and Economic Equality. Everyone has the right to the same treatment regardless of race, sex, religion, heritage, or economic status.

Diversity: The differences in culture, dress, language, heritage and religion are not just tolerated, but celebrated as a strength.

Truth: They should expect and demand that the government not lie to them and the government should disclose information to the people. The government and its people should not lie.

Popular Sovereignty: The power of the government comes from the people. The people are the ultimate authority over the government.

Patriotism: The people or citizens show a love and devotion for their country and the values. They can show this by words or by actions.

Constitutional Principles

Rule of Law: Both the people and the government must obey all laws.

Separation of Powers: The executive, legislative and judicial branches of the government should be separate institutions so no one branch has all of the power.

Representative Government: People have the right to elect others to represent them in the government.

Checks and Balances: The powers of the three branches of government, executive, legislative and judicial, should be balanced. No one branch should be dominate. Each branch should have powers to check the actions of the other branches.

Individual Rights: Each individual has the fundamental right to life, liberty, economic freedom and the pursuit of happiness. These rights are outlined in the Bill of Rights and the government should protect these rights and not place undo restrictions upon them.

Freedom of Religion: The right to practice any or no religion without persecution by the government.

Federalism: The states and the federal government share power as outlined by the Constitution.

Civilian Control of the Military: The people control the military to preserve democracy.

Source: http://www.classroomhelp.com/lessons/cdv/cdv_definition.html

Reform Movements Project Guidelines
1. Work in small groups (jigsaw) focusing on one of the reform movements—

Education, Temperance, Abolition, Women’s Suffrage, and Prison Reform -- to research and present a presentation (poster, Glogster (which is an online Poster), Prezi, ad campaign, pamphlet/brochure, cartoon, commercial). Your presentation needs to include the following:


  • Identify 3 key leaders and 3 key vocabulary words of the movement

  • Develop a concise mission statement for the individual movement

  • Connect to religious teachings of the time period

  • Depict how this movement connects to The Bill of Rights and the idea of Core Democratic Values

  • Create an action plan and execute it in a Glogster or other presentation

2. Practice your presentation and what it will look like in front of the class.
3. Prepare three questions for your audience to insure that they understand what you are describing.

Education Reform:

A tireless determination and boundless energy fueled Horace Mann to improve the dire shape of public schools in early nineteenth century Massachusetts. Mann came from a poor family and grew up on a farm in Franklin, Massachusetts. As a child, he was educated in the local one-room schoolhouse which, according to him, was in a state of major disrepair. He entered Brown University, where he prepared for a career in law. After brief stints in law and business, Mann committed himself to social reforms, including the construction of a state insane asylum and leadership in the temperance movement. In 1837, serving as state senate president, Mann turned his attention toward public schools, starting a crusade that lasted the rest of his life.

Throughout the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, public school students attended classes for only a few weeks each winter, often in poorly equipped schoolhouses with untrained teachers. Using his position in government and his experience as a social reformer, Mann established the state board of education and departed from the senate to serve as the board’s first secretary. Seeing public school as a way to improve and equalize educational opportunity, Mann comprehensively surveyed the condition of the state’s schools, established training institutes for teachers, increased the length of the school year to six months, and gathered support for more funding for teacher salaries, books and school construction.

Mann’s life and work present a number of interesting paradoxes. A crusader for universal education that embraced different social classes, Mann also worked to promote industry, canals and railroads as Massachusetts State Senator and as head of the Senate. He often argued for public education in economic terms, saying that it would increase the wealth of individuals, communities, the state and the country as a whole, while teaching respect for private property.

Mann argued that all children should learn together in “common” schools, yet he did not take a stand against school segregation in his own city of Boston. He lived at a time of tremendous social change when immigrants were pouring into the Northeastern states, farmers were leaving rural areas to work in factories, and cities were growing rapidly with crime and poverty on the rise. Some historians believe that Mann and other reformers were alarmed by the upheaval, and promoted state regulated public education as a way to bring order and discipline to the working class in this rapidly changing society. Threatened by the growing population of urban poor, Mann and his fellow reformers placed a major emphasis on “moral training”, standardization and classroom drill.

Many historians, however, see Mann’s legacy as positive, contending that overall his contributions led to a more egalitarian and democratic society. Some credit Mann with spearheading the most successful progressive social movement of the 19th century: Public Education.

Source: http://www.pbs.org/kcet/publicschool/innovators/mann.html

The Temperance Movement:

The TEMPERANCE MOVEMENT in the United States first became a national crusade in the early nineteenth century. An initial source of the movement was a groundswell of popular religion that focused on abstention from alcohol. Evangelical preachers of various Christian denominations denounced drinking alcohol as a sin. People who drank, they claimed, lost their faith in God and ceased to observe the teachings of Jesus.

Other supporters of the first temperance movement objected to alcohol's destructive effects on individuals, communities, and the nation as a whole. According to these activists, the consumption of alcohol was responsible for many personal and societal problems, including unemployment, absenteeism in the workplace, and physical violence. Scores of short stories and books published in the mid-nineteenth century described in dramatic detail the abuse suffered by the families of alcoholics. Alcoholics were characterized as dangerous to themselves, their families, and even their nation's security. In the words of temperance advocate Lyman Beecher, a drunk electorate would "dig the grave of our liberties and entomb our glory."

The temperance movement was marked by an undercurrent of ethnic and religious hostility. Some of the first advocates were people of Anglo-Saxon heritage who associated alcohol with the growing number of Catholic immigrants from Ireland and the European continent. Supposedly, the Catholics were loud and boisterous as a result of too much drinking.

Most of the first temperance advocates were sincerely concerned for the welfare of others, however, and were not motivated by such faulty perceptions. The public's rate of alcohol consumption was, in fact, increasing steadily during the nineteenth century, and the reformers saw the banishment of alcohol not as a punishment but as necessary to an orderly, safe, and prosperous society. Despite its good intentions, the first movement splintered. The largest rift occurred between a minority of abolitionists, who favored the promotion of total abstinence from alcohol, and the majority of reformers, who favored only abstinence from hard liquor.

Although it lacked cohesion, the first temperance movement yielded some legislative reforms. In 1846, Maine became the first state to enact a law prohibiting liquor consumption. Twelve other states followed suit, but the laws were difficult to enforce, and public support for the laws quickly waned. By 1868 Maine was the only state left with a liquor PROHIBITION law, and the temperance movement appeared to have come and gone.

Carry Nation, a well-known prohibitionist, holds a Bible and a hatchet. Nation often used a hatchet to smash liquor bottles and furniture in saloons.

Groups such as the Women's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) and the Anti-Saloon League were at the forefront of the onslaught on alcohol. Members of these groups spoke publicly in favor of Prohibition and lobbied elected officials for laws banning the consumption of alcohol. Some of the more active members disrupted business at saloons and liquor stores. One of the most visible prohibitionists, Carry Nation, used a hatchet to smash liquor bottles and break furniture in saloons.

In the 1870s some prohibitionists began to form political parties and nominate candidates for public office. Leaders in the so-called Progressive movement were instrumental in the resurgence of the temperance movement. The Progressives called for sweeping governmental controls in response to perceived social crises, and they began to promote the abolition of alcohol as part of a plan to clean up cities and eliminate poverty. By the time WORLD WAR I began in 1914, an increasing number of politicians were advocating a ban on alcohol, and the conservation efforts for the war gave the temperance movement additional momentum.

Congress enacted the Lever Act of 1917 (40 Stat. 276) to outlaw the use of grain in the manufacture of alcoholic beverages, and many state and local governments passed laws prohibiting the distribution and consumption of alcohol. Two years later, the states ratified the EIGHTEENTH AMENDMENT to the U.S. Constitution, which prohibited the manufacture, transportation, and sale of alcoholic beverages in the United States. The complete ban on alcohol was put into effect by the Volstead Act (41 Stat. 305). President WOODROW WILSON vetoed the act, but Congress overrode the VETO and the United States became officially dry in January 1920.

The effect of Prohibition was to drive drinking underground. Saloons were replaced by speakeasies, hidden drinking places that, in some areas, were tolerated by local police. The more enterprising individuals set up homemade stills to produce alcohol for their own consumption. Others turned to bootlegging, or the illegal sale of alcohol. Prices on the black market were markedly higher than they had been prior to Prohibition, and gangsters used violence to acquire and maintain control over the highly profitable bootlegging business. Bootlegging was so profitable because so many people wanted to drink alcohol. Federal, state, and local law enforcement officials found themselves at war not only with gangsters, but with the general public as well.

Popular support for Prohibition quickly waned after the Eighteenth Amendment was passed, but it took thirteen years to end it. HERBERT HOOVER, who served as president from 1929 to 1933, supported Prohibition, calling it "an experiment noble in purpose." Hoover was defeated in his bid for reelection, however, and in 1933 President FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT called for an amendment to the Volstead Act that would legalize light wine and beer consumption. The bill passed quickly and received widespread public support, and Congress set about the task of repealing Prohibition. On December 5, 1933, the TWENTY-FIRST AMENDMENT to the U.S. Constitution was ratified, and the "noble experiment" was dismantled.

Source: http://law.jrank.org/pages/10714/Temperance-Movement.html

Abolitionist Sentiment Grows

As the cotton industry took hold and slavery became more and more entrenched across the American south, the opposition to the Peculiar Institution began to grow.

The first widely accepted solution to the slavery question in the 1820s was colonization. In effect, supporters of colonization wanted to transplant the slave population back to Africa. Their philosophy was simple: slaves were brought to America involuntarily. Why not give them a chance to enjoy life as though such a forced migration had never taken place? Funds were raised to transport freed African-Americans across the Atlantic in the opposite direction. The nation of Liberia was created as a haven for former American slaves.

But most African-Americans opposed this practice. The vast majority had never set foot on African soil. Many African-Americans rightly believed that they had helped build this country and deserved to live as free citizens of America. By the end of the decade, a full-blown Abolitionist movement was born.

These new Abolitionists were different from their forebears. Anti-slavery societies had existed in America since 1775, but these activists were more radical. Early Abolitionists called for a gradual end to slavery. They supported compensation to owners of slaves for their loss of property. They raised money for the purchase of slaves to grant freedom to selected individuals.
The new Abolitionists thought differently. They saw slavery as a blight on America. It must be brought to an end immediately and without compensation to the owners. They sent petitions to Congress and the states, campaigned for office, and flooded the south with inflammatory literature.

Needless to say, eyebrows were raised throughout the north and the south. Soon the battle lines were drawn. President Andrew Jackson banned the post office from delivering Abolitionist literature in the south. A "gag rule" was passed on the floor of the House of Representatives forbidding the discussion of bills that restricted slavery. Abolitionists were physically attacked because of their outspoken anti-slavery views. While northern churches rallied to the Abolitionist cause, the churches of the south used the Bible to defend slavery.

Abolitionists were always a minority, even on the eve of the Civil War. Their dogged determination to end human bondage was a struggle that persisted for decades. While mostly peaceful at first, as each side became more and more firmly rooted, pens were exchanged for swords. Another seed of sectional conflict had been deeply planted. Source: http://www.ushistory.org/us/28.asp

Women's Suffrage

Although women had many moral obligations and duties in the home, church and community, they had few political and legal rights in the new republic. When Abigail Adams reminded her husband John during the Constitutional Convention to "Remember the Ladies!" her warning went unheeded. Women were pushed to the sidelines as dependents of men, without the power to bring suit, make contracts, own property, or vote. During the era of the "cult of domesticity," a woman was seen merely as a way of enhancing the social status of her husband. By the 1830s and 40s, however, the climate began to change when a number of bold, outspoken women championed diverse social reforms of prostitution, capital punishment, prisons, war, alcohol, and, most significantly, slavery.

Activists began to question women's subservience to men and called for rallying around the abolitionist movement as a way of calling attention to all human rights. Two influential Southern sisters, Angelina and Sarah Grimke, called for women to "participate in the freeing and educating of slaves."

Harriet Wilson became the first African-American to publish a novel sounding the theme of racism. The heart and voice of the movement, nevertheless, was in New England. Lucretia Mott, an educated Bostonian, was one of the most powerful advocates of reform, who acted as a bridge between the feminist and the abolitionist movement and endured fierce criticism wherever she spoke. Sarah Margaret Fuller wrote Women in the Nineteenth Century, the first mature consideration of feminism and edited The Dial for the Transcendental Club.

Around 1840 the abolitionist movement was split over the acceptance of female speakers and officers. Ultimately snubbed as a delegate to a World Anti-Slavery Convention in London, Elizabeth Cady Stanton returned to America in 1848 and organized the first convention for women's rights in Seneca Falls, New York. Under the leadership of Stanton, Mott, and Susan B. Anthony, the convention demanded improved laws regarding child custody, divorce, and property rights. They argued that women deserved equal wages and career opportunities in law, medicine, education and the ministry. First and foremost among their demands was suffrage — the right to vote. The women's rights movement in America had begun in earnest. Amelia Bloomer began publishing The Lily, which also advocated "the emancipation of women from temperance, intemperance, injustice, prejudice, and bigotry." She also advocated the wearing of pantaloons for women that would allow for greater mobility than the expected Victorian costume — now these garments are called "bloomers."
As with the Civil War, the seeds of the quest for women's rights were sown in the Declaration of Independence, claiming that "all men are created equal." Sarah Grimke wrote in 1837 that "men and women were created equal ... whatever is right for men to do is right for women." That language was mirrored in the Seneca Falls Declaration. Thus, in this era of reform and renewal women realized that if they were going to push for equality, they needed to ignore criticism and what was then considered acceptable social behavior. The new republic's experiment in government was going to need all of its citizens to have "every path laid open" to them. However, the ardent feminists discovered that many people felt women neither should nor could be equal to men. The nation soon became distracted by sectional tension and the climate for reform evaporated. This important struggle would continue for many generations to come.

Source: http://www.ushistory.org/us/26c.asp

Prison Reform:

The pretty woman who stood before the all-male audience seemed unlikely to provoke controversy. Tiny and timid, she rose to the platform of the Massachusetts Legislature to speak. Those who had underestimated the determination and dedication of Dorothea Dix, however, were brought to attention when they heard her say that the sick and insane were "confined in this Commonwealth in cages, closets, cellars, stalls, pens! Chained, beaten with rods, lashed into obedience." Thus, her crusade for humane hospitals for the insane, which she began in 1841, was reaching a climax. After touring prisons, workhouses, almshouses, and private homes to gather evidence of appalling abuses, she made her case for state-supported care. Ultimately, she not only helped establish five hospitals in America, but also went to Europe where she successfully pleaded for human rights to Queen Victoria and the Pope.

The year 1841 also marked the beginning of the superintendence of Dr. John Galt at Eastern Lunatic Asylum, in Williamsburg, Virginia, the first publicly supported psychiatric hospital in America. Warehousing of the sick was primary; their care was not. Dr. Galt had many revolutionary ideas about treating the insane, based on his conviction that they had dignity. Among his enlightened approaches were the use of drugs, the introduction of "talk therapy" and advocating outplacement rather than lifelong stays.

In addition to the problems in asylums, prisons were filled to overflowing with everyone who gave offense to society from committing murder to spitting on the street. Men, women, children were thrown together in the most atrocious conditions. Something needed to be done — but what?

After the War of 1812, reformers from Boston and New York began a crusade to remove children from jails into juvenile detention centers. But the larger controversy continued over the purpose of prison — was it for punishment or penitence? In 1821, a disaster occurred in Auburn Prison that shocked even the governor into pardoning hardened criminals. After being locked down in solitary, many of the eighty men committed suicide or had mental breakdowns. Auburn reverted to a strict disciplinary approach. The champion of discipline and first national figure in prison reform was Louis Dwight. founder of the Boston Prison Discipline Society, he spread the Auburn system throughout America's jails and added salvation and Sabbath School to further penitence.

After several bad starts, America finally enjoyed about a decade of real reform. Idealism, plus hope in the perfectibility of institutions, spurred a new generation of leaders including Francis Lieber, Samuel Gridley Howe and the peerless Dix. Their goals were prison libraries, basic literacy (for Bible reading), reduction of whipping and beating, commutation of sentences, and separation of women, children and the sick.

Top of Form

Bottom of Form

By 1835, America was considered to have two of the "best" prisons in the world in Pennsylvania. Astonishingly, reformers from Europe looked to the new nation as a model for building, utilizing and improving their own systems. Advocates for prisoners believed that deviants could change and that a prison stay could have a positive effect. It was a revolutionary idea in the beginning of the 19th century that society rather than individuals had the responsibility for criminal activity and had the duty to treat neglected children and rehabilitate alcoholics.

In reality it became clear that, despite intervention by outsiders, prisoners were often no better off, and often worse off, for their incarceration. Yet, in keeping with the optimistic spirit of the era, these early reformers had only begun a crusade to alleviate human suffering that continues today.

Source: http://www.ushistory.org/us/26d.asp

Calhoun ISD Social Studies Curriculum Design Project

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