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Reforming American


Reforming American Society

$160 per month

1 session per week


Allison Bruning


The reformers discussed in this course fought against injustices by speaking, writing, and taking action. Students will use the following steps to explore and injustice today. They will present their posters in the last session.

1) Document through pictures - photographs, cutouts from magazines, or printouts from the Internet - what you feel is an injustice in your community or in society.

2) Create a pictorial essay that shows different aspects of the injustice you are publicizing.  




13 - 18  years old




Session 1: Religion Sparks Reform


Students will identify Charles G. Finney, Second Great Awakening, revival, Ralph Waldo Emerson, transcendentalism, Henry David Thoreau, Dorothea Dix, and utopian community. 

Students will be introduced to their course project.

Students will describe the relationship between revivals and political movements. 

Students will contrast Unitarians' and revivalists' approaches to religious experiences. 

Students will describe how Henry Thoreau;s experiences at Walden reflected transcendentalist beliefs. .

Students will analyze the development and importance of the McGuffey Readers. 

Students will summarize the efforts that were made to improve education in the 1830's.

Students will explain why the idea of utopian communities appealed to transcendentalists.

Students will describe the relationship between Brook Farm and Nathaniel Hawthorne.


1) Complete Section 1 Assessment on page 228.

2) Read pages 229 - 234 in course textbook.

3) Start your course project. 

Session 2: Slavery and Abolition


Students will review their homework.

Students will identify abolition, William Lloyd Garrison, emancipation, David Walker, Frederick Douglas, Nat Turner, antebellum, and gag rule. 

Students will identify what was radical at the time about William Lloyd Garrison's and David Walker's ideas about abolition. 

Students will contrast the methods various antislavery groups proposed. 

Students will summarize the work and life experiences of Southern slaves. 

Students will examine slave revolts and slavery in the Americas.   

Students will describe how Turner's revolt hardened Southern white attitudes about privileges for blacks. 

Students will summarize the arguments Southern proslavery whites employed to defeat slavery. 


1) Complete Section 2 Assessment on page 234.

2) Read pages 235 - 239 in course textbook.

3) Continue working on your course project. 

Session 3: Women and Reform


Students will review their homework.

Students will identify Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott, cult of domesticity, Sarah and Angelina Grimke, temperance movement, Seneca Falls convention and Sojourner Truth.

Students will describe the main problems faced by women in the mid- 1800's.

Students will examine the life of Lucretia Mott.

Students will describe how women were excluded from the abolitionist movement.

Students will summarize the gains women made in education in the 1820's and 1830's and did these gains extend to African-American women.

Students will analyze the changes in women's lives in the United States from 1820-1850.

Students will contrast the Seneca Falls convention and the World's Anti-Slavery Convention held in 1840.


1) Complete Section 3 Assessment on page 239.

2) Read pages 214 - 247 in course textbook.

3) Interact With History section on page 247. 

4) Continue working on your course project. You will present your project in the next session. 

Session 4: The Changing Workplace


Students will review their homework and present their projects.

Students will identify putting-out system, master, journeyman, apprentice, strike and National Trades' Union.

Students will summarize how factory production changed America's manufacturing.

Students will examine Northern cities and industry from 1830 - 1850.

Students will analyze the development of telecommunication.

Students will describe the factors that contributed to the worsening conditions that workers endured at Lowell beginning in the 1830's.

Students will answer the following question and justify their answers with facts.

1) Based on the results, do you think the decision to strike at Lowell was a good one? 

Students will summarize how the influx of immigration from Germany and Ireland affected circumstances in the workplace.

Students will explain why the national trade movement was important. 

Students will examine the life of workers during 1820 - 1850. 

Students will analyze the importance of strikes. 

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