Sunday, February 12, 2017

Education and Reforms

In the early 1800s it was very rare for a child to attend school and be educated. The reason? Towns could not collect enough taxes to build local schools. But this all changed when an American reformer named Horace Mann came into play. Mann believed that an education reform could help change the society. Mann also believed that public education should be available to all children, no matter how wealthy their families were. Mann started working to achieve his goal in 1837, when he became Secretary of Education in Massachusetts. Thanks to Mann's efforts, public education became more popular around the country, and more students began to attend school.
In the time between the late 1700s and early 1800s people who were mentally ill and poor often lived in jail and poor houses. Dorothea Dix visited places like this in the 1830s, to see how the mentally ill were treated. She was quite upset to find that patients were often treated like prison criminals, and lived in awful conditions (the patients were left in cages or worse). After her experience, Dix began to advocate for the reform of mental institutions. She wanted the patients to be treated in more humane ways. Dix also believed that to help the mentally ill, they needed to actual mental hospitals so the patients could get the medical care and attention they needed. She worked to get the government to approve and fund mental asylums.
Eventually there came a time where the prisons got reformed as well. In early times of America, people who committed crimes were either branded, flogged, or executed. There wasn't really a proper prison system. In the late 1700s and early 1800s people started to believe that the punishment criminals received should reflect the crime they committed. Thus the first "modern prisons" began to emerge. The two different systems were known as the Pennsylvania System and the Auburn System.
The Pennsylvania System was much more expensive, and more extreme in its treatment toward prisoners. Prisoners were kept in isolation, and were not allowed to have any visitors. They were also allowed no outside news. This system was not as popular as the Auburn System.
Under the Auburn System, prisoners were not allowed to speak to each other during meal or work times. The prisoners were held in individual cells at night. Because of the Auburn Systems popularity, it became a model for prisons all across the country until the 1800s.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

The Second Great Awakening

The Second Great Awakening began in the late 1700s. However it reachits peak in the mid- 1800s. During the Second Great Awakening there was an increase in religious participation. The people started to reject old ideal that only certain preselected people are going to salvation (also know as predestination). 

Like the first Great Awakening, religious leaders went around the counties and gave sermons promoting their beliefs. These sermons were mostly held outdoors and were referred to as ten meetings or revivals. Upstate New York was a popular location for these revivals, which earned the region the nickname "the burned-over district". 
Charels Finney was an important Presbyterian minister at the time. Finney preached in both Upstate New York and Manhattan, and supported other reform movements such as the abolition of slavery and universal education. 
A few results of the Second Great Awakening were that many more people applied and received church memberships. As well as the surge in church memberships, many new religious dominations were formed. Two fairly successful dominations of religions was the Methodists and Unitarianism. The Methodists already had 70,000 following, but increased that number to over 1 million in 1844. the Unitarianism domination also formed, which was a separate division of the Protestant church. The  Unitarianist believed that Jesus was a human model for living a moral life, instead of a divine being.
In the 1820s and 1830s Joseph Smith founded founded the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (the Mormon church). The time period in which Smith grew there were many conflicting religions, and Smith often found himself confused as to what to believe. Smith claimed to be visited by an angel who lead him to a buried book of revelation. This book later became the Book of Mormon. The Mormons ideas were not accepted by many other religions, which forced them out further west.