FC: The Reform Movement -- A Book of Firsts | Aaron Wan
1: Introduction | The nineteenth century brought a revolutionizing transformation to American society in many fields. These areas of reform included religion, literature, art, abolitionism, temperance, education, health, and labor. All of these campaigns flourished as America attempted to create an identity that all could agree upon. The revivals and movements sparked in this era invoked radical changes in America.
2: Education | The education reform brought new, improved public schooling, textbooks, and curriculum. Women's education and schools were beginning to become more respectable. Liberal arts colleges and universities were also on the rise. Libraries, lecture associations, and magazines helped ideas pervade throughout the country.
4: Elizabeth Blackwell was the first woman to graduate from medical college, eventually becoming a pioneering female doctor. After graduating from Geneva Medical College, she became an activist for the promotion of educational opportunities for women. In doing so, Blackwell founded the New York Infirmary for Indigent Women and Children. It provided positions to women physicians and nurses. Leaving the college to her younger sister, Emily, she returned to England and further establish the London School of Medicine for women, creating even more opportunities to female practitioners. Against all odds, Blackwell successfully pioneered medicinal education for women. Although her efforts did not completely eliminate prejudice or extend education to all, she fought for educational equality and made a big difference. | Elizabeth Blackwell
6: Prudence Crandall | Prudence Crandall was a educator who advocated for the rights of African Americans. In 1831, she established the first Black female academy in Canterbury, Connecticut. Her actions violated Black laws, and she was arrested for a night. She faced large opposition in Canterbury: thrown rocks, attempted house burnings, and other terrorizing actions. Even though she had help from a few wealthy abolitionists, the academy was forced to shut down due to continual harassment and protests. Overall, Crandall made a great stride toward educational equality for African Americans; however, it was crushed by the overwhelming prejudice at the time. She was a courageous harbinger for future educational reformers to come.
8: Horace Mann | Horace Mann was a lawyer and legislator that become involved with education through his election to the Massachusetts Board of Education. He led the Common School Movement to ensure that all children were entitled to free, public education. Additionally, he influenced teacher training schools to improve the quality of schooling. His influence vastly upgraded public education, but he still faced the challenge of integrating equality into the system.
10: Labor | Along with education, industry and economy were both growing through the invention of innovative tools such as the steel plow, the mechanical reaper, and the steamboat. These tools made labor more efficient and stimulated the economy with increased productivity.
11: John Deere was an Illinois blacksmith and manufacturer. Early in his career, Deere and an associate designed a series of farm plows. In 1837, he designed the first cast steel plow. These large plows made for cutting the tough prairie ground were called "grasshopper plows." The plow was made of wrought iron and had a steel share that could cut through sticky soil without clogging. By 1855, John Deere's factory was selling over 10,000 steel plows a year. Although it took him some time to find the right material to use, Deere definitely revolutionized agricultural industry with his plow. | John Deere
12: Cyrus McCormick | Cyrus McCormick invented the self-raking mechanical reaper. He slowly improved upon it, adding self-bundling wire as well. This invention made labor more than five times more efficient. It was a great success and a big step from manual farming to the mechanical farming in modern agriculture.
13: Robert Fulton | Robert Fulton was an inventor who was interested in steam engines and art. Early in his career, he built a submarine prototype but didn't receive much attention for it. It was later that he constructed the first commercial steamboat for the Hudson River. His invention improved commerce in the states, and he accomplished all his engineering goals.
14: Abolitionism | This movement caused an uproar among the people, especially the North and the South. Leaders wrote books, published newspapers, and even petitioned against slavery in an effort to abolish the immoral practice. Various revolts also occurred due to the increasing number of uprising slaves.
15: William Lloyd Garrison was an abolitionist who wanted to outlaw slavery. A part of various anti-slavery societies, Garrison was a radical and attacked institutions for continuing slavery. His great work is the publishing of The Liberator, a newspaper that discussed the slavery issue and called for immediate emancipation. | William Lloyd Garrison
16: Frederick Douglass | Among the most prominent of the abolitionists was Frederick Douglass, a freed slave himself. He believed that slaves should be educated and that knowledge was the key to freedom. He also published the North Star, a newspaper advocating abolitionist thoughts and ideas. Douglass was a key figurehead for the abolitionist movement.
18: The Grimke sisters were two slave sisters who believed in greater rights for both women and slaves. They raised money, petitioned, and wrote books for the end of slavery. Among these writings was An Appeal to Christian Women of the South, a book attempting to reform beliefs in southern churches. Though they faced much ridicule and opposition, the Grimke sisters increased the voice of the abolitionist as well as women. | The Grimke Sisters
20: Literature | With the increased nationalism from the war, many new artists and novelists began writing about American themes. Most of these literary and visual artists adapted unique styles to create a precedent for future authors. Among these reformers were Washington Irving, Edgar Allan Poe, and Nathaniel Hawthorne.
21: Washington Irving | Washington Irving was a pioneering American author who began writing at a young age. During the reform era, he began writing about unique American themes with patriotic spirit. His most well known works included "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" and "Rip Van Winkle," both published in his collection, The Sketchbook. through his works, he effectively spread nationalism to commoners throughout the nation.
22: Edgar Allan Poe | Edgar Allan Poe was a unique American author who wrote about the dark side of life and the American dream. He was the first suspense writer in America, which was completely different from any other style introduced before. Poe revolutionized writing style by implementing a realist tone in his writing and poems. He also influenced future writers to follow in his footsteps.
23: Nathaniel Hawthorne | Nathaniel Hawthorne was a realist writer who accepted the world and human nature as an immoral place. He attacked Transcendentalist and Utopian writers for idealizing worldly harmony. His most famous works are The Scarlet Letter and The House of the Seven Gables.
24: Overall, the reform era of the nineteenth century was very successful. In the education field, both women and African Americans alike were fighting for equality. Both flourished fairly well considering the extreme prejudice and opposition at the time. From a labor and economic standpoint, the reform generated higher productivity and wealth. Through the invention of the various tools, work was made easier and more efficient. The abolitionists were also somewhat successful during this era. Although the issue of slavery eventually led to the Civil War, people were still able to spread awareness and rally support for the anti-slavery cause. Furthermore, the reform brought an artistic identity to the nation. The unique styles of writers in the literary reform utilized original, American themes in their works. Ultimately, this passionate reformation of America was essential for both the strength and the unity of the country as a whole. It shaped society to be sophisticated, advanced, and most importantly, unique.
25: The End