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Social Movements and Influential People in the Pre-Civil War Era

By csalfer
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson -1836

    Ralph Waldo Emerson -1836
    Ralph Waldo Emerson was an essayist and poet who started the Transcendentalist movement of the mid 1800's. He first published his transcendental beliefs in his book "Nature" in 1836. Transcendentalism is the belief that everything in the world is a microcosm of the universe. His main concept was that of the "Over-Soul", a belief that there is a Supreme Mind that every man and woman shares. Emerson later edited his transcendentalist newspaper, The Dial, from 1842-1844.
  • Period: to

    Pre-Civil War Era

  • Public Education Reform and Horace Mann - 1837

    Public Education Reform and Horace Mann - 1837
    Horace Mann lead the Education reform in 1837 when state legislature created the first Board of Education in Massachusetts, with Mann as secretary. To promote education reforms, Mann started a biweekly journal for teachers and lectured about education to everyone. He even visited Europe to learn more about established education systems and brought new ideas back to the United States. Mann believed that education should be maintained by the public and contain professional teachers.
  • William Lloyd Garrison - 1840

    William Lloyd Garrison - 1840
    Although Garrison started his newspaper, The Liberator, in 1831, to call for the abolition of slavery but his popularity didn't start growing until the late 1830's and 40's. Garrison believed that the Constitution was a pro-slavery document; he was considered one of the most radical abolitionists of that time. He started the Anti-Slavery Society and even allowed women to join. Garrison was friends with Frederick Douglass, but in 1851, after a major disagreement, they never reconciled.
  • Prison and Hospital Reform - 1841

    Prison and Hospital Reform - 1841
    In 1841 Dorothea Dix started the reform movement for public asylums for the mentally ill. She started her campaign when she was asked to teach Sunday school at a jail. She was shocked with the conditions the mentally ill were put in and demanded change. For two years she gathered information about prisons and compiled them into a report. When the report was presented to legislators, they were shocked and voted to make public asylums for the mentally ill.
  • Manifest Destiny - 1845

    Manifest Destiny - 1845
    John L. O'Sullivan coined the phrase "Manifest Destiny" in 1845 to describe the movement of people west, who established new towns and communities. Settlers moved to Oregon and California, making the 6 month trek, across 2000 miles of the Oregon Trail. This mass migration caused several conflicts with the British and Native American people, but the US ultimately defeated them and gained Oregon and California as territories.
  • Harriet Tubman - 1849

    Harriet Tubman - 1849
    Harriet Tubman was a former slave, who escaped slavery in 1848. Instead of fleeing to the North, Harriet continued to help families escape slavery into freedom. Over the course of her work in the Underground Railroad, Tubman helped over 100 slaves escape to freedom in the North and later to Canada. She was one of the leading abolitionists of the time and is said to have known Frederick Douglass.
  • Free Soil Movement - 1848

    Free Soil Movement - 1848
    The Free Soil Party branched from the Garrisonians and the Liberty Party, with an emphasis on anti slavery because they viewed it as a threat to republicanism and the Jeffersonian ideal of freeholder society. Frederick Douglass was the most notable member of the party and fully endorsed its strategy. However, many abolitionists didn't like the freeholder ideals of the Free Soilers, calling it "whitemanism".
  • Elizabeth Cady Stanton - 1848

    Elizabeth Cady Stanton - 1848
    Elizabeth C. Stanton was an abolitionist and later a leader of the women's suffrage. She strived to part of the "male" spheres of knowledge and later advocated for the inclusion of women in abolition meetings. In 1848, she organized the Seneca Falls Convention, and helped write the "Declaration of Sentiments", which was used as a core document for the fight for women's rights.
  • Seneca Falls Convention - 1848

    Seneca Falls Convention - 1848
    The Seneca Falls Convention was an event put on by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott. Over 70 women attended to fight for women's rights. During the convention, the women wrote a new "Declaration of Sentiments", which detailed the rights these women were fighting for. This convention was a critical part of the women's suffrage movement.
  • Nativist Movement - 1850s

    Nativist Movement - 1850s
    The nativist movement started in the mid 1830's but reached its peak in the 1850's, when an influx of immigrants started arriving. Irish men and women, numbering 200,000, immigrated due to the potato famine. Germans also immigrated in the thousands. Native born New Yorkers did not like the influx of foreign people and feared that the immigrants would alter the city's culture. They called for a halt in immigration and started a cultural and political assault on foreign born people.