School Improvement in Maryland
Clarifications: Each clarification provides an explanation of an indicator/objective to help teachers better understand the skills and/or concepts.

Standard 5.0 History

Topic C. Conflict between Ideas and Institutions

Indicator 4. Analyze the institution of slavery and its influence on societies in the United States

Objective c. Compare the relationship of abolitionists to the other reform movements


Abolitionism only was one of several reform movements to emerge during the first half of the nineteenth century. Other movements included temperance, women’s rights, expanded education, and rights for people with special needs. In many cases, the same individuals advocated several of these reforms, and each of these movements was motivated primarily by religious impulses. The Second Great Awakening had inspired evangelical Protestants to believe in the power of the individual to make moral choices and improve himself. In addition, reformers wanted to extend the principles of the American Revolution to all Americans.

The closest link existed between abolitionists and women’s rights advocates. These movements were working for the same basic goal: the extension of the principle of equality to individuals other than white males. In fact, many women, including Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, took up the fight for women’s rights when their work as abolitionists led them to recognition of similarities between the positions of women and slaves. In the Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions drafted at the Seneca Falls Convention, women’s rights activists declared, “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men and women are created equal.”

A rift developed between the two movements when the American Anti-Slavery Society refused to allow women to hold office in its organization for fear of alienating potential supporters.

Resources for Objective 5.C.4.c:
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