The essay “The Reform Movements of the 19th Century” seeks to evaluate the 19th-century reform, which was a success in many aspects though it did not fully achieve what it intended to do. Evidently, it has made enviable strides ahead in slaves’ women’s rights, education, and crime and punishment. …
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Though the previously ignored fractions of society achieved social recognition, there are still issues that exist in society. Evidently, the reform achieved a lot though it fell short of the expectations of the protagonists. Reform and the Slaves One of the most important achievements in the reform was the end of slave regime. In fact, the anti-slavery ideology as propounded by the abolitionists won the battle in 1865 with the 13th Amendment. Evidently, the northern states had started giving up slavery after the American Revolution. However, many states in the south continued depending on slavery as the primary means of labor as they had cotton. Admittedly, one factor that led to the fight for the freedom of slaves is the religious awakening in the reform period, especially among the Protestants. For example, the Protestants proclaimed that it is highly necessary to reform the society to make the Kingdom of God a reality as the religion focused on the Second Coming of Christ. In addition, the Evangelical mission to save others gave women a chance to engage in social reform movements that were aimed at protecting slaves. Being the worst treated creatures in the society, for these reformists, slaves were the primary concern. People like William Lloyd Garrison, Quaker Lucretia Mott, and many others formed the American Anti-Slavery Society and many of the members were women; both white and African American. As time passed, by the mid 19th century, the Anti-Slavery Society was split into various fractions including the Foreign Anti-Slavery Society, and even the Liberty Party. By 1848, history saw the Liberty Party joining a coalition and creating the Free Soil Party followed by a Free Soil Convention in 1848. However, as time passed, things were getting complicated in nature. The Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 saw marshals seizing and returning fugitive slaves, and thus, the free slaves again fell prey to the southern slaveholders though some managed to flee to Canada. Now, it was time for the Kansas Nebraska Act that allowed each area to decide their policy on slavery. As there was no progress in the slavery issue, in 1859, John Brown and his followers attacked the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry in Virginia, but as their revolt did not materialize, Brown and followers were caught and hanged. Admittedly, this only resulted in enraging even the pacified supporters of the anti-slavery movement. Soon, there arose the Civil War in 1861. As the Civil War ended, history witnessed the passage of the 13th Amendment that outlawed slavery. Five years later, in 1970, there was the 15th Amendment that allowed the African-Americans the right to vote. Admittedly, a lot has been achieved by the reform movement. However, a report by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor shows the picture of an incomplete work. The report Civil rights and civil wrongs: racism in America today that appeared in the November-December 2003 issue of International Socialist Review quotes the President as saying “My nation’s journey toward justice has not been easy and it is not over…the racial bigotry fed by slavery did not end with slavery or with segregation…” (Taylor). In addition, the writers point out the fact that according to statistics, African Americans still continue to lag behind whites in all walks of life.
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