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MFA for Educators

Engage your students with the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, to illustrate themes and concepts in any discipline.

19th Century Reform Movements: Intro

Unit 4 Introduction: Problems in 19th Century American Society

In the early to mid 19th century, the American economy and social structure was shifting. The extension of voting rights to most white males is one consequence of this shift; the other consequences were less positive. One historian noted:

"A nightmare haunted early nineteenth century Americans- the spector of social breakdown".- Steven Mintz, Moralists and Modernizers

19th century reformers sought to rectify this social breakdown, resulting in one of the largest mobilizations of people and resources that the country has ever seen.


Task: Identify at least 3 problems in 19th century society using the sources provided. (hint: the problem may not be the primary focus).