Thematic essay question

Download 261.5 Kb.
Size261.5 Kb.
  1   2
Thematic Essay Practice – Reform Movements (Again)

US History/Napp Name: __________________
From the June 2005 New York States Regents/ U.S. History & Government

Directions: Write a well-organized essay that includes an introduction, several paragraphs addressing the task below, and a conclusion.
Theme: Reform Movements

Reform movements are intended to improve different aspects of American life. Through the actions of individuals, organizations, or the government, the goals of these reform movements have been achieved, but with varying degrees of success.


Identify two reform movements that have had an impact on American life and for each

Discuss one major goal of the movement

Describe one action taken by an individual, an organization, or the government in an attempt to achieve this goal

Evaluate the extent to which this goal was achieved

Some suggestions you might wish to consider include the abolitionist movement, woman’s suffrage movement, temperance movement, Progressive movement, civil rights movement, women’s rights movement, and environmental movement.

Gathering the Facts:

  1. Abolitionist Movement and Frederick Douglass

  • The American Anti-Slavery Society was established in 1833, but abolitionist sentiment antedated the republic.

  • Before independence, Quakers, most black Christians, and other religious groups argued that slavery was incompatible with Christ’s teaching.

  • Moreover, a number of revolutionaries saw the glaring contradiction between demanding freedom for themselves while holding slaves.

  • Although the economic center of slavery was in the South, northerners also held slaves, as did African Americans and Native Americans. Moreover, some southerners opposed slavery.

  • Blacks were in the vanguard of the anti-slavery movement. Abolitionist literature began to appear about 1820. Until the Civil War, the anti-slavery press produced a steadily growing stream of newspapers, periodicals, sermons, children’s publications, speeches, abolitionist society reports, broadsides, and memoirs of former slaves.” ~

  • Frederick Douglass

  • The son of a slave woman and an unknown white man, ‘Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey’ was born in February of 1818 on Maryland’s eastern shore.

  • He spent his early years with his grandparents and with an aunt, seeing his mother only four or five times before her death when he was seven. (All Douglass knew of his father was that he was white.) During this time he was exposed to the degradations of slavery, witnessing firsthand brutal whippings and spending much time cold and hungry.

  • When he was eight he was sent to Baltimore to live with a ship carpenter named Hugh Auld. There he learned to read and first heard the words abolition and abolitionists.

  • Douglass spent seven relatively comfortable years in Baltimore before being sent back to the country, where he was hired out to a farm run by a notoriously brutal ‘slavebreaker’ named Edward Covey.

  • Whipped daily and barely fed, Douglass was ‘broken in body, soul, and spirit.’

  • On January 1, 1836, Douglass made a resolution that he would be free by the end of the year.

  • He planned an escape. But early in April he was jailed after his plan was discovered.

  • Two years later, while living in Baltimore and working at a shipyard, Douglass would finally realize his dream: he fled the city on September 3, 1838. Travelling by train, then steamboat, then train, he arrived in New York City the following day.

  • Several weeks later he had settled in New Bedford, Massachusetts, living with his newlywed bride (whom he met in Baltimore and married in New York) under his new name, Frederick Douglass.

  • Always striving to educate himself, Douglass continued his reading. He joined various organizations in New Bedford, including a black church. He attended Abolitionists' meetings. He subscribed to William Lloyd Garrison’s weekly journal, the Liberator.

  • In 1841, he saw Garrison speak at the Bristol Anti-Slavery Society’s annual meeting.

  • Several days later Douglass gave his speech at the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society’s annual convention in Nantucket.

  • Before leaving the island, Douglass was asked to become a lecturer for the Society for three years. It was the launch of a career that would continue throughout Douglass’ long life.

  • Despite apprehensions that the information might endanger his freedom, Douglass published his autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Written By Himself. The year was 1845.

  • Frederick Douglass would continue his active involvement to better the lives of African Americans. He conferred with Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War and recruited northern blacks for the Union Army. After the War he fought for the rights of women and African Americans alike.” ~

  1. Woman’s Suffrage Movement and Susan B. Anthony

  • The woman suffrage movement actually began in 1848, when the first women’s rights convention was held in Seneca Falls, New York.

  • For the next 50 years, woman suffrage supporters worked to educate the public about the validity of woman suffrage.

  • Under the leadership of Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and other women’s rights pioneers, suffragists circulated petitions and lobbied Congress to pass a Constitutional Amendment to enfranchise women.” ~

  • Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906) is perhaps the most widely known suffragist of her generation and has become an icon of the woman’s suffrage movement. Anthony traveled the country to give speeches, circulate petitions, and organize local women’s rights organizations.

  • Anthony was born in Adams, Massachusetts. After the Anthony family moved to Rochester, New York in 1845, they became active in the antislavery movement. Antislavery Quakers met at their farm almost every Sunday, where they were sometimes joined by Frederick Douglass and William Lloyd Garrison.

  • In 1848 Susan B. Anthony was working as a teacher in Canajoharie, New York and became involved with the teacher’s union when she discovered that male teachers had a monthly salary of $10.00, while the female teachers earned $2.50 a month. Her parents and sister Marry attended the 1848 Rochester Woman’s Rights Convention held August 2.

  • Anthony’s experience with the teacher’s union, temperance and antislavery reforms, and Quaker upbringing, laid fertile ground for a career in women’s rights reform to grow. The career would begin with an introduction to Elizabeth Cady Stanton.

  • Meeting Elizabeth Cady Stanton was probably the beginning of her interest in women’s rights, but it is Lucy Stone’s speech at the 1852 Syracuse Convention that is credited for convincing Anthony to join the women’s rights movement. Stanton and Anthony founded the American Equal Rights Association and in 1868 became editors of its newspaper, The Revolution. The masthead of the newspaper proudly displayed their motto, “Men, their rights, and nothing more; women, their rights, and nothing less.”

  • By 1869 Stanton, Anthony and others formed the National Woman Suffrage Association and focused their efforts on a federal woman’s suffrage amendment.

  • In an effort to challenge suffrage, Anthony and her three sisters voted in the 1872 Presidential election. She was arrested and put on trial in the Ontario Courthouse, Canandaigua, New York. The judge instructed the jury to find her guilty without any deliberations, and imposed a $100 fine. When Anthony refused to pay a $100 fine and court costs, the judge did not sentence her to prison time, which ended her chance of an appeal. An appeal would have allowed the suffrage movement to take the question of women’s voting rights to the Supreme Court, but it was not to be.

  • As a final tribute to Susan B. Anthony, the Nineteenth Amendment was named the Susan B. Anthony Amendment. It was ratified in 1920.” ~

  1. The Temperance Movement and Carrie Nation

  • Standing at nearly 6 feet tall and weighing 180 pounds, Carry Amelia Moore Nation, Carrie Nation, as she came to be known, cut an imposing figure.

  • Wielding a hatchet, she was downright frightful. In 1900, the target of Nation’s wrath was alcoholic drink.

  • Nation, who described herself as ‘a bulldog running along at the feet of Jesus, barking at what he doesn’t like,’ felt divinely ordained to forcefully promote temperance.

  • A brief marriage to an alcoholic in the late 1800's fueled Nation’s disdain for alcohol.

  • Kiowa, Kansas was the setting of Nation’s first outburst of destruction in the name of temperance in 1900.

  • Between 1900 and 1910 she was arrested some 30 times after leading her followers in the destruction of one water hole after another with cries of ‘Smash, ladies, smash!’

  • Prize-fighter John L. Sullivan was reported to have run and hid when Nation burst into his New York City saloon.

  • Self-righteous and formidable, Nation mocked her opponents as ‘rum-soaked, whiskey-swilled, saturn-faced rummies.’ ~

  1. The Progressive movement and Jacob Riis

  • Progressivism is the term applied to a variety of responses to the economic and social problems rapid industrialization introduced to America.

  • Progressivism began as a social movement and grew into a political movement.

  • The early progressives rejected Social Darwinism.

  • In other words, they were people who believed that the problems society faced (poverty, violence, greed, racism, class warfare) could best be addressed by providing good education, a safe environment, and an efficient workplace.

  • Progressives lived mainly in the cities, were college educated, and believed that government could be a tool for change.

  • Social reformers, like Jane Addams, and journalists, like Jacob Riis and Ida Tarbel, were powerful voices for progressivism.

  • They concentrated on exposing the evils of corporate greed, combating fear of immigrants, and urging Americans to think hard about what democracy meant.” ~

  • Jacob Riis was born in Ribe, Denmark in 1849, and immigrated to New York in 1870.

  • Unable to find work, he soon found himself living in police lodging houses, and begging for food.

  • The conditions in the lodging houses were so bad, that Riis vowed to get them closed.

  • After three years of doing odd jobs, Riis landed a job as a police reporter with the New York Evening Sun.

  • He worked in the poorest, most crime – ridden areas of the city. These were generally neighborhoods where immigrants lived in deplorable tenement houses.

  • He began to bring a camera with him to document what he found in these neighborhoods, and the conditions in which these people lived.

  • For this, Riis is considered to be one of the fathers of modern photojournalism.

  • His book How the Other Half Lives inspired then police commissioner Theodore Roosevelt to close the police lodging houses.

  • It also brought about many needed reforms in housing laws.

  • So important was Riis’s work, that Roosevelt called him ‘New York’s most useful citizen.’” ~

  1. The Civil Rights Movement and Rosa Parks

  • The civil rights movement can be defined as a mass popular movement to secure for African Americans equal access to and opportunities for the basic privileges and rights of U.S. citizenship.

  • Although the roots of the civil rights movement go back to the 19th century, the movement peaked in the 1950s and 1960s.

  • African American men and women, along with whites, organized and led the movement at national and local levels.

  • They pursued their goals through legal means, negotiations, petitions, and nonviolent protest demonstrations.

  • The largest social movement of the 20th century, the civil rights movement influenced the modern women’s rights movement and the student movement of the 1960s.

  • The civil rights movement centered on the American South, where the African American population was concentrated and where racial inequality in education, economic opportunity, and the political and legal processes was most blatant.

  • Beginning in the late 19th century, state and local governments passed segregation laws, known as Jim Crow laws, and mandated restrictions on voting qualifications that left the black population economically and politically powerless.

  • The movement therefore addressed primarily three areas of discrimination: education, social segregation, and voting rights.” ~

  • Rosa Parks was an African American civil rights activist whose refusal to relinquish her seat on a public bus to a white man precipitated the 1955–56 Montgomery bus boycott in Alabama, which is recognized as the spark that ignited the U.S. civil rights movement.

  • On December 1, 1955, she was arrested for refusing to give her bus seat to a white man, a violation of the city’s racial segregation ordinances. Under the aegis of the Montgomery Improvement Association and the leadership of the young pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, Martin Luther King, Jr., a boycott of the municipal bus company was begun on December 5. (African Americans constituted some 70 percent of the ridership.)

  • On November 13, 1956, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a lower court’s decision declaring Montgomery’s segregated seating unconstitutional, and the court order was served on December 20; the boycott ended the following day.

  • For her role in igniting the successful campaign, which brought King to national prominence, Parks became known as the ‘mother of the civil rights movement.’” ~ Britannica

  1. The Women’s Rights Movement and Betty Friedan

  • During the 1960s a feminist trend emerged in the United States, encouraged by significant feminist studies, such as The Second Sex (1953) by Simone de Beauvoir and The Feminine Mystique (1963) by Betty Friedan, and by a general legislative climate favorable to minority rights and antidiscrimination movements.

  • Feminist political organizations arose that developed into a full feminist movement by the 1970s.

  • These included the National Organization for Women (NOW) formed in 1966 under the leadership of Betty Friedan; the National Women’s Political Caucus (1971), composed of such nationally known feminists as Bella Abzug, Shirley Chisholm, and Gloria Steinem; the Equal Rights Amendment Ratification Council (1973); and the Coalition of Labor Union Women (1973).

  • The force of the women’s rights movement, spearheaded by NOW, was brought to bear on the major issue of the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to the Constitution.

  • The ERA was approved by the U.S. House of Representatives in 1971 and by the Senate in 1972.

  • On June 30, 1982, however, ratification of the ERA fell three states short of the needed 38.

  • Later congressional efforts to reintroduce the measure have failed, although a number of states have added equal rights clauses to their constitutions.

  • Since the 1980s the women’s movement has focused on diverse issues, including reproductive rights (preserving the woman’s right of choice to have an abortion against the pro-life movement), sexual harassment, and the ‘glass ceiling’ that impedes women in corporate advancement.” ~

  • Betty Friedan was an American feminist best known for her book The Feminine Mystique (1963), which explored the causes of the frustrations of modern women in traditional roles.

  • In 1957, Betty Friedan circulated a questionnaire among her college classmates; the answers suggested to her that a great many of them were, like her, deeply dissatisfied with their lives.

  • Betty Friedan organized her findings, illuminated by her personal experiences, in her 1963 landmark book, The Feminine Mystique.

  • The book was an immediate and controversial best seller and was translated into a number of foreign languages.

  • Its title was a term she coined to describe ‘the problem that has no name’ – that is, a feeling of personal worthlessness resulting from the acceptance of a designated role that requires a woman’s intellectual, economic, and emotional reliance on her husband.

  • Friedan’s central thesis was that women as a class suffered a variety of more or less subtle forms of discrimination but were in particular the victims of a pervasive system of delusions and false values under which they were urged to find personal fulfillment, even identity, vicariously through the husbands and children to whom they were expected to cheerfully devote their lives.

  • This restricted role of wife-mother, whose spurious glorification by advertisers and others was suggested by the title of the book, led almost inevitably to a sense of unreality or general spiritual malaise in the absence of genuine, creative, self-defining work.

  • In October 1966 Friedan cofounded the National Organization for Women (NOW), a civil rights group dedicated to achieving equality of opportunity for women.” ~ Britannica

  1. The Environmental Movement and Rachel Carson

  • Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring is credited with launching the modern environmental movement.

  • Begun as a series of articles in the New Yorker, the book, published by Houghton Mifflin in 1962, educated the public regarding the hazards of the indiscriminate use of pesticides, many of which the effects were not fully known.

  • Silent Spring not only raised awareness about the issues of pesticides but also taught us about the ecological systems of which we all are a part, encouraging society to reexamine our relationship to the natural world.

  • Silent Spring catalyzed action from all segments of society including housewives, garden club members, President Kennedy, and the US government.

  • Recognizing the need for the public to be informed and actively engaged in the environmental movement, Rachel Carson personally responded to letters and calls from citizens throughout the country.

  • Her book and its resulting public discourse led to greater restrictions on the use of chemicals and the banning of DDT.

  • In 1970, less than a decade after Silent Spring was published, the US Environment Protection Agency was established.” ~

Look at the thematic essay question again. Which two foreign policy actions will you choose?

In addition, in your own words, summarize the reformers and reform movements:

  • The Abolitionist Movement and Frederick Douglass

  • The Woman’s Suffrage Movement and Susan B. Anthony

  • The Temperance Movement and Carrie Nation

  • The Progressive Movement and Jacob Riis

  • The Civil Rights Movement and Rosa Parks

  • The Women’s Rights Movement and Betty Friedan

  • The Environmental Movement and Rachel Carson

Outlining the Thematic Essay:
Reform Movement: _______ Reform Movement: _______

  • Discuss one major goal of the movement

  • Describe one action taken by an individual, an organization, or the government in an attempt to achieve this goal

  • Evaluate the extent to which this goal was achieved

  • Discuss one major goal of the movement

  • Describe one action taken by an individual, an organization, or the government in an attempt to achieve this goal

  • Evaluate the extent to which this goal was achieved

Additional Notes:

Additional Notes:

Write the Essay:

Body Paragraph:


Body Paragraph:



Download 261.5 Kb.

Share with your friends:
  1   2

The database is protected by copyright © 2022
send message

    Main page