|Evaluate the different approaches taken by the various reform movements to the problems of antebellum society. What role did the Second Great Awakening and Romanticism play in these movements?|
| "Mr. F.--The truth is, Marriage gives man the power
of ownership over woman, and such power is wrong and prolific of wrong
in the case of Marriage, as in that of Slavery.
Major S.--You must see the force of this argument, I am sure, Judge North.
Judge N.--The law protects woman from the violence of her husband.
Mr. F.--Nominally, I admit; but as in the case of Slavery, this protection applies only in extreme cases...
...Judge N.--But the Bible sanctions Marriage, and you must admit it is a divine institution. 'Thou shalt not commit adultery,' is one of the ten commandments.
Mr. F.--The Bible sanctions Marriage only as it sanctions Slavery--i.e. temporarily, and because the world, by reason of sin, has not hitherto been prepared for better institution...
...Major S.--Good. Liberty breeds virtue, Judge.
Judge N.--What would become of women and children, if it was not for the system of maintenance and care that Marriage provides? They cannot take care of themselves, and they would fare hard if there were no responsible husbands.
Mr. F.--They would certainly fare better under a system of free-labor and free-love in Association, than they do under the Marriage system, where each family is at the mercy of one man. A responsible association of men, is the protection secured to every woman and child, in the system I advocate."
Source: Slavery and Marriage, Conversation between Judge North, Major South, and Mr. Free Church .
|"I say it with a sad sense of the disparity between us. I am not included within the pale of glorious anniversary! Your high independence only reveals the immeasurable distance between us. The blessings in which you, this day, rejoice, are not enjoyed in common.The rich inheritance of justice, liberty, prosperity and independence, bequeathed by your fathers, is shared by you, not by me. The sunlight that brought light and healing to you, has brought stripes and death to me. This Fourth July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn. To drag a man in fetters into the grand illuminated temple of liberty, and call upon him to join you in joyous anthems, were inhuman mockery and sacrilegious irony. Do you mean, citizens, to mock me, by asking me to speak to-day? ...Would you have me argue that man is entitled to liberty? that he is the rightful owner of his own body? You have already declared it. Must I argue the wrongfulness of slavery? Is that a question for Republicans? Is it to be settled by the rules of logic and argumentation, as a matter beset with great difficulty, involving a doubtful application of the principle of justice, hard to be understood?"|
Source: The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro, Frederick Douglass.
| "Gentlemen of the Judiciary:
There are certain natural rights as inalienable to civilization as are the rights of air and motion to the savage in the wilderness. The natural rights of the civilized man and woman are government, property, and harmonious development of all their powers. And the gratification of their desires, there are a few people we now and the meet who, like Jeremy Bentham, scout the idea of natural rights in civilizations and pronounce them mere metaphors, declaring that there are no rights aside from those the law confers. If the law made man too, that might do, for then he could be made to order to fit the particular niche he was designed to fill, But inasmuch as God made man in His own image with capacities and powers as boundless as the universe, whose exigencies no mere human law can meet. ...Blackstone declares that the husband and wife are one, and learned commentators have decided that one is the husband. In all civil codes you will find them classified as one. Certain rights and immunities, such and such privileges are to be secured to white male citizens. What have women and Negroes to do with rights? What know they of government, war, or glory?
...But, say you, we would not have woman exposed to the grossness and vulgarity of public life, or encounter what she must at the polls. When you talk, gentlemen, of sheltering woman from the rough winds and revolting scenes of real life, you must be either talking for effect or wholly ignorant of what the facts of life are. The man, whatever he is, is known to the woman. She is the companion, not only of the accomplished statesman, the orator, and the scholar; but the vile, vulgar, brutal man had his mother, his wife, his sister, his daughter. Yes, delicate, refined, educated women are in daily life with the drunkard, the gambler, the licentious man, the rogue, and the villain; and if man shows out what he is anywhere, it is at his own hearthstone. There are over 40,000 drunkards in this state. ...In paradise man and woman were placed together, and so they must ever be. They must sink or rise together, and so they must ever be. If a man is low and wretched and vile, woman cannot escape the contagion, and any atmosphere that is unfit for woman to breathe is not fit for man. ...No, gentlemen, if there is but one woman in this state who feels the injustice of her position, she should not be denied her inalienable rights because the common household drudge and silly butterfly of fashion are ignorant of all laws, both human and divine. Because they know nothing of governments or rights and therefore ask nothing, shall my petitions be unheard? I stand before you, the rightful representative of woman, claiming a share in the halo of glory that has gathered round her in the ages; and by the wisdom of her past words and works, her peerless heroism and self-sacrifice, I challenge your admiration; and moreover claiming, as I do, a share in all her outrages and sufferings, in cruel injustice, contempt, and ridicule now heaped upon her, in her deep degradation, hopeless wretchedness, by all that is helpless in her present condition, that is false in law and public sentiment, I urge your generous consideration; for as my heart swells with pride to behold woman in the highest walks of literature and art, it grows big enough to take in those who are bleeding in the dust."
Source: The Natural Rights of Civilized Women, Elizabeth Cady Stanton.
The Abolitionist Hymn
We ask not that the slave should lie
As lies his master, at his ease,
Beneath a silken canopy,
Or in the shade of blooming trees.
We ask not “eye for eye,” that all
Who forge the chain and ply the whip
Should feel their torture, while the thrall
Should wield the scourge of mastership.
WE mourn not that the man should toil;
‘Tis nature's need, ‘tis God’s decree;
But let the hand that tills the soil
Be, like the wind that fans it, free.
Source: "The Abolitionist Hymn"
|I have once or twice been urged to attend a convention of the advocates of woman's rights; and though compliance has never been within my power, I have a right to infer that some friends of the cause desire suggestions from me with regard to the best means of advancing it. ...But the reform here anticipated should be inaugurated in our own households. I know how idle is the expectation of any general and permanent enhancement of the wages of any class or condition above the level of equation of supply and demand, yet it seems to me that the friends of woman's rights may wisely and worthily set the example of paying juster prices for female assistance in their households than those now current. If they would but resolve never to pay a capable, efficient woman less then two-thirds the wages paid to a vigorous, effective man employed in some corresponding vocation, they would very essentially aid the movement now in progress for the general recognition and conception of equal rights to women.|
Source: Horace Greeley Women's Rights.
In later times, and since the achievement of American independence, the
universal and ever-repeated argument in favor of free schools has been
that the general intelligence which they are capable of diffusing, and
which can be imparted by no other human instrumentality, is indispensable
to the continuance of a republican government. …Again, the expediency of
free schools is sometimes advocated on grounds of political economy.
An educated people is always a more industrious and productive people.
Intelligence is a primary ingredient in the wealth of nations. …And yet,
…there is not at the present time, with the exception of the States of
New England and a few small communities elsewhere, a county or a state
in Christendom which maintains a system of free schools for the education
of its children.
…I believe in the existence of a great, immortal, immutable principle of natural law. Or natural ethics, …which proves the absolute rights to an education of every human being that comes into the world, and which, of course, proves the correlative duty of every government to see that the means of that education are provided for all.
Source: Horace Mann, Tenth Annual Report of the Secretary of the Massachusetts State
Board of Education.
|Now, in my humble judgment, no instrument can be so efficient in giving a determined character for good to all these diversified schemes of philanthropy, and in rendering the great physical improvements which adorn and enrich our country subservient to its moral, social, and political advancement, as well regulated common schools. When I speak of common schools, I mean not the schools hitherto too common indeed in our land–conducted by teachers altogether incompetent, and furnished with books unsuited to the infant capacity, which makes the business of learning the heaviest drudgery—where the overtasked intellect becomes jaded and disgusted with its labors—where the hour of release from study is the hour of jubilee—and where all moral discipline is neglected, and the rank excesses of juvenile folly are encouraged and cultivated. But I mean those common schools—the pride and boast of the present age—which combine so many, and such valuable improvements;--improvements in the character, qualification, and standing of the professional teacher, in the number, variety, and admirable adaptation of books to the youthful mind; books greatly simplified in their form, yet calling into action all the faculties of the mind, not over burdening the memory with an unintelligible jargon of words, but making a clear understanding of the subject the price of proficiency in every branch of study…The nature, condition, and amount of our funds being ascertained, and the object of their appropriation being settled, the next important step was the devise a COMMON SCHOOL SYSTEM suited to the exigencies of the country to which they might be at once applied, The SYSTEM adopted by the legislature, after much deliberation, and no little discussion, makes every congressional township in the State a school township, and authorizes the people, in these several townships, to organize schools as may best suit their own convenience, without embarrassing them by arbitrary and inconvenient subdivisions into school districts. …This school commissioner holds in his hands the money arising from the sale of every sixteenth section, and is entitled to receive the State school commissioners the interest of the combined school, college, and seminary funds, to be applied, together with the interest of the township fund, to the payment of teachers according the schedule presented.|
Source: A Lecture on the Importance of Education Geo. L. Ward.
| Upton Lane
My dear friend.
…I think that I engaged to give some little hinds of my view of the state of your debt prison therefore I will endeavour to do it.
In the first place I consider the want of the separation of the sexes
the most crying evil and a must unjustifiable exposure of the morals of
both partied and that something should be done at once to remedy its at
least the womens’ room should be locked up at night and they should have
a bell that they could ring if they want anything in the night-…There should
be a divine service at least once a week and a suitable place for it as
it is wrong and hard that prisoners for debt should be excluded the privilege
of attending a place or worship. Thus far I think…then I see that
much may be done by benevolent ladies of gentlemen frequently visiting
these poor creatures reading to them instructing them giving them books
(as he has already done) and endeavouring to induce the poor prisoners
to make such use of their times as may prove a blessing to them in afterlife
also some attention might at times be paid to their families.
Source: Letter of Elizabeth Fry to Sarah Smith on Prison Reform
|It cannot be denied that our country is most horribly scourged by intemperance. In the strong language of Scripture, it groaneth and travaileth in pain, to be delivered from the bondage of this corruption. Our country is free! with a great price obtained we this freedom. …Yes, we are groaning under a most desolating bondage. The land is trodden down under its polluting foot. Out families are continually dishonored, ravaged, and bereaved; thousands annually slain, and hundreds of thousands carried away into a loathsome slavery, to be ground to powder under its burdens, or broken under the wheel of its tortures. …Ask the history of the 200,000 paupers now burdening the hands of public charity, and you will find that two-thirds of them have been the victims, directly or indirectly, of Intemperance. Inquire at the gates of death, and you will learn that no less than 30,000 souls are annually passed for the judgment-bar of God, driven there by Intemperance. …We ask not of salves to man, but to Intemperance, in comparison with whose bondage the yoke of the tyrant is freedom. They are estimated at 480,000! …Another assertion is equally unquestionable. The time had come when a great effort must be made to exterminate this unequalled destroyer. It was high time this was done when the first drunkard entered eternity to receive the award of Him who has declared that no drunkards shall enter the kingdom of God. …The whole country is enslaved; and the whole country must rise up at once, like an armed man, and determine to be free. Of what lasting avail would it be for one section of territory, here and there, to clear itself, while the surrounding regions should remain under the curse? The temperance reformation has no quarantine to fence out the infected.|
Source: Address to the Young Men of the United States, On Temperance.
Rev. C.P. M'Ilvaine, D.D.
Although the Temperance cause had been in progress for near twenty years,
it is apparent to all, that it is, just now, being crowned with a degree
of success, hitherto unparalleled. …The cause itself seems suddenly transformed
from a cold abstract theory, to a living, breathing, active, and powerful
chieftain, going forth “conquering and to conquer.”…The preacher, it is
said, advocates temperance because he is a fanatic, and desires a union
of Church and State; and hired agent, for his salary. But when one,
who had long been a victim of intemperance, bursts the fetters that have
bound him, and appears before his neighbors “clothed, and in his right
mind,” a redeemed specimen of long lost humanity, and stands up with tears
of joy trembling in eyes, to tell of the miseries once endured, now to
be endured no more forever; of his once naked and starving children, now
clad and fed comfortably; of a wife long weighed down with woe, weeping,
and a broken heart, now restored to health, happiness, and renewed affection;
and how easily it all is done, once it is resolved to be done; however
simple his language, there is logic, and an eloquence in it, that few with
human feelings, can resist. …Another error, as it seems to me, into which
the old reformers fell, was, the position that all habitual drunkards were
utterly incorrigible, and therefore, must be turned adrift, and damned
without remedy, in order that the grace of temperance might abound to the
temperate then, and to all mankind some hundred years thereafter. …By the
Washingtonians, this system of consigning the habitual drunkard to hopeless
ruin, it repudiated. They adopt a more enlarged philanthropy. They go to
present as well as future good. They labor for all now living, as
well as all hereafter to live. They teach hope to all – despair to
none. As applying to their cause, they deny the doctrine of unpardonable
sin. As in Christianity it is taught, so in this they teach, that
‘While the lamp holds out to burn,
The vilest sinner may return.’
…And when the victory shall be complete – when there shall be neither a slave nor a drunkard on the earth – how proud the title of that Land, which may truly claim to be the birth-place and the cradle of both those revolutions, that shall have ended in that victory.
Source: Temperance Address to the Springfield Washington Temperance Society
by Abraham Lincoln, 1842.
|We must educate! or we must perish by our own property. If we do not, short will be our race from the cradle to the grave. If, in out haste to be rich and mighty, we outrun our literary and religious institutions, they will never overtake us, or only come up after the battle of liberty is fought and lost, as spoils to grace the victory, and as resources of inexorable despotism for the perpetuity of our bondage.|
Source: The McGuffey Reader, Lesson XLII, 1857.
Church, Mr. Free, North, Judge, South, Major “Slavery and Marriage, A
Dialogue” Women and Social Movements in the United States,
1175-1940 February 25, 2002
|Anthony, Susan B. "Speech After Being Convicted of Voting in the 1872
Presidential Election" Gift of Speech Women's Speeches From Around
The World. February 2002 http://gos.sbc.edu/a/anthony.html
Beecher, Lyman "Six Sermons on Intemperance" America Past and Present
Calhoun, John C. "Jonh C. Calhoun on the Slavery Issue" A Documentary
Edwards, Jonathan "The Final Judgement" JonathanEdwards.com
Garrison, William Lloyd "The First Issue of The Liberator" A
Grayson, William J. "The Hireling and the Slave" A Documentary History
Putnam, George W. " 'A Poem' Written for the Women's Rights Convention"
Smith, Joseph "Prophet Joseph Smith Relays God's Message"
Stone, Rev, A. L. "Appeal to the Ladies of America" Uncle Tom's Cabin
Thoreau, Henry David "A Plea for Captain John Brown" The Annals of
Thoreau, Henry David "Slavery in Massachusetts" Transcendentalists
DBQ Question created by:
Meredeth Zeitler &
Maria Regina H. S.