Compare and contrast these four reform movements  temperance, public education, asylums, and feminism?Compare and contrast these four reform movements  temperance, public education, asylums, and...

Compare and contrast these four reform movements  temperance, public education, asylums, and feminism?

Compare and contrast these four reform movements  temperance, public education, asylums, and feminism?

Expert Answers
brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Great question.  The first three clearly refer to early 1800s utopian reformers, active during the Second Great Awakening, while the last one, feminism, is much more broad.  I'll assume you mean the beginnings of feminism at the same time period.

All of the movements sought to perfect the democracy, or at least to finish what was started with the Constitution.  There was the common belief, especially among women of the time, that the Revolution was unfinished, and that a second social revolution based on democratic and moral principles was necessary.  In education, Horace Mann led the effort for successful reform, where women were much more active in the other three.

You can also pretty clearly argue that the reform movement for public education and asylums was much more successful than temperance or early feminism.  Those movements would not make significant progress until the next century.  You can also argue that temperance was the only one of the movements you list that was solidly rooted in moral reform as opposed to democratic reform based on equality or the protection of minorities.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that the main thing that these movements have in common (other than occurring at about the same time) is that they were all motivated by the idea that human beings and human institutions could be made perfect.  Historians say that this idea became much more prominent in the US in the 1830s and 1840s.

Beyond that, there are differences.  Temperance and public education were most clearly linked to the perfectibility of people.  They argued that people could reach their potentials if educated and if kept away from excessive drinking. Dix's efforts on asylums are linked more to the idea that a perfect society needs to be compassionate to the less fortunate.  It did not really focus on improving the minds of the insane, just on treating them more nicely.

Feminism was kind of different from both.  It focused on perfecting a class of people who had been ignored.  But it can also be seen as a movement for justice.  This is an element that distinguishes it from the others.

Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

These four components of the age of reform in American History shared several elements in common.  I would say that most profound is that they each spoke for those who lacked a voice.  For example, feminism sought to give voice to women, a group marginalized from the political, economic, and social discussions of power and influence.  Asylums and the reform of mental institutions were intended to speak for those individuals who suffered from mental illness and who lacked a voice in the social order of the time.  Temperance movements and public education reform also spoke out for those who suffered from the ills of alcohol as well as those who could benefit from improvements in education.  These movements all gave voice to groups that were previously silenced.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
The main things that these movements have in common is that they were all associated with women. Women were strong proponents of the temperance movement. They naturally supported education reform. It was common to put women who did not know their place or suffered from depression in asylums, and asylums were also a project for women leaders.
lit24 | Student

1. Temperance: The temperance movement refers to voluntary social movements in different countries which tried to mitigate the harmful effects of excessive alcohol drinking by propagating drinking in moderation or even complete abstinence.

2. Public Education: refers to state funded education which was paid for by the taxes levied on its citizens. It is offered by governments all over the world for all its citizens irrespective of any difference whatsoever.

3.Asylums: are state funded and state run or organizations funded and run by voluntary organizations to give safety and protection to those who have been cast out by society and cannot take care of themselves, especially the insane, drug addicts and HIV patients.

4. Feminism: is a worldwide movement which aims to dismantle patriarchal structures and bring about equality between the male and females of a society.

What all these four movements and institutions have in common is the good of  human society.