- Reform movement
:"Reform Movement redirects here. For specific organizations by that name, see
Reform Movement (disambiguation)"A reform movement is a kind of social movementthat aims to make gradual change, or change in certain aspects of societyrather than rapid or fundamental changes. A reform movement is distinguished from more radical social movements such as revolutionary movements.
Reformists' ideas are often grounded in
liberalism, although they may be rooted in utopian, socialistor religiousconcepts. Some rely on personal transformation; others rely on small collectives, such as Mahatma Gandhi's spinning wheel and the self sustaining village economy, as a mode of social change. Reactionary movements, which can arise against any of these, attempt to put things back the way they were before whatever successes of the new movement(s), or prevent any such successes in the first place.
Great Britain/United Kingdom: late 18th century to early 20th
The Radical Movement
The Radical movement campaigned for
electoral reform, a reform of the Poor Laws, free trade, educational reform, postal reform, prison reform, and public sanitation. [Elie Halévy, "The Growth of Philosophic Radicalism." Faber (1972)] Originally this movement sought to replace the exclusive political powerof the aristocracywith a more democraticsystem empowering urban areas and the middle and lower classes. Following the Enlightenment's ideas, the reformers looked to the Scientific Revolutionand industrial progress to solve the social problems which arose with the Industrial Revolution. Newton's natural philosophy combined a mathematics of axiomatic proof with the mechanics of physical observation, yielding a coherent system of verifiable predictions and replacing a previous reliance on revelation and inspired truth. Applied to public life, this approach yielded several successful campaigns for changes in social policy. Eventually, this reform movement led to formation of the Liberal Party in 1859. Later, wealthy business owners and high ranking officials created the Conservative Party to counter the rising strength of the liberals in
One the actions that was taken was the
Reform Bill of 1832, which provided the rising middle classes more political power in urban areas while lessening the representation of districts undisturbed by the Industrial Revolution. [G. M. Trevelyan, "Lord Grey of the Reform Bill: Being the Life of Charles, Second Earl Grey." London: Longmans, Green (1913)] Despite determined resistance from the House of Lords, this Bill gave more parliamentary power to the liberals, while reducing the political force of the working class, leaving them detached from the main body of middle class support on which they had relied. Having achieved the Reform Act of 1832, the Radical alliance was broken until the Liberal-Labour alliance of the mid-Victorian period. [G.D.H. Cole, "Short History of the British Working Class Movement, 1787-1947." London, George Allen & Unwin (1948), pp. 63-69. "The Reform Movement"]
The Chartist movement
The Chartist movement sought universal suffrage. An historian of the Chartist movement observed that "The Chartist movement was essentially an economic movement with a purely political programme." [G.D.H. Cole, "Short History of the British Working Class Movement, 1787-1947." London, George Allen & Unwin (1948), p. 94 "The Rise of Chartism"] A period of bad trade and high food prices set in, and the drastic restrictions on
Poor Lawrelief were a source of acute distress. The London Working Men's Association, under the guidance of Francis Place, found itself in the midst of a great unrest. In the northern textile districts the Chartists, led by Feargus O'Connor, a follower of Daniel O'Connell, denounced the inadequate Poor Laws. This was basically a hunger revolt, springing from unemployment and despair. In Birmingham, the older Birmingham Political Unionsprang to life under the leadership of Thomas Attwood. The Chartist movement demanded basic economic reforms, higher wages and better conditions of work, and a repeal of the obnoxious Poor Law Act.
The idea of universal male suffrage, an initial goal of the Chartist movement, was to include all males as voters regardless of their social standing. This later evolved into a campaign for universal suffrage. This movement sought to redraw the parliamentary districts within Great Britain and create a salary system for elected officials so workers could afford to represent their constituents without a burden on their families. While the
Chartistmovement faded in under 10 years, laborers in industrial areas found greater political representation. Unfortunately, the workers who remained in poverty and most social classes of women in Great Britain did not benefit yea.
The Women's Suffrage movement
Many consider Mary Wollstonecraft's "Vindication of the Rights of Woman" (1792) to be the source of the reformers' long running campaign for feminist inclusion and the origin of the
Women's Suffragemovement [Mary Wollstonecraft, "Vindication of the Rights of Women" (1792)] . Harriet Taylorwas a significant influence on John Stuart Mill's work and ideas, reinforcing Mill's advocacy of women's rights. Her essay, "Enfranchisement of Women," appeared in the "Westminster Review" in 1851 in response to the first National Woman's Rights Convention in Worcester, Massachusetts in 1850, and it was reprinted in the United States. Mill cites Taylor's influence in his final revision of "On Liberty," (1859) which was published shortly after her death, and she appears to be obliquely referenced in Mill's "The Subjection of Women." [ [http://feminism.eserver.org/history/docs/subjection-of-women.txt Mill, "The Subjection of Women," The Feminism and Women's Studies site (e-text)] ]
A militant campaign to include women in the electorate originated in Victorian times.
Emmeline Pankhurst's husband, Richard Pankhurst, was a supporter of the women's suffrage movement, and had been the author of the Married Women's Property Acts of 1870 and 1882. In 1889, Pankhurst founded the unsuccessful Women's Franchise League, but in October, 1903 she founded the better-known Women's Social and Political Union(Suffragettes), an organization famous for its militancy. Led by Pankhurst and her daughters, Christabel and Sylvia, the campaign culminated in 1918, when the Parliament of the United Kingdom passed an act (the Representation of the People Act 1918) granting the vote to: women over the age of 30 who were householders, the wives of householders, occupiers of property with an annual rent of £5, and graduates of British universities.
Reform in Parliament
Earl Grey, Lord Melbourne and
Robert Peelwere leaders of Parliament during the earlier years of the British reform movement. Gray and Melbourne were of the Whig party, and their governments saw parliamentary reform, the abolition of slave trading throughout the British Empire, and Poor Law reform. Peel was a Conservative, whose Ministry took an important step in the direction of tariff reform with the abolition of the Corn Laws. Benjamin Disraeliand William Gladstone, as leaders of Great Britain's Conservative and Liberal parties, respectively, served as Prime Ministers during the later years of Great Britain's era of reform. Disraeli saw British control of the Suez Canal and named Queen Victoria the Empress of India.
Gladstone approached politics differently. Among the reforms he helped Parliament pass was a system of
public educationin the Elementary Education Act 1870. In 1872, he saw the institution of a secret ballotto prevent voter coercion, trickery and bribery. By 1885 Gladstone had readjusted the parliamentary district lines by making each district equal in population, preventing one MP from having greater influence than another.
United States: 1840s - 1930s
# Art -- The
Hudson River Schooldefined a distinctive American style of art, depicting romantic landscapes via the Transcendentalist perspective on nature
# Literature -- founding of the Transcendentalism, stressed high thinking and a spiritual connection to all things (see
# Science --
John James Audubonfounded the science of ornithology(the study of birds)
# Utopian Experiments
New Harmony, Indiana(founder: Robert Owen), practiced economic communism, although it proved socially inviable.
## Oneida Commune (founder:
John Noyes), practiced eugenics, complex marriage, and communal living. The commune was supported through the manufacture of silverware, and the corporation still exists today, producing spoons and forks for households of the world. The commune sold its assets when Noyes was jailed on numerous charges.
Shakers-- (founder: Mother Ann Lee) Stressed living and worship through dance, supported themselves through manufacture of furniture. The furniture is still popular today.
Brook Farm"' (founder: George Ripley), an agriculture-based commune that also ran schools.
# Educational reform -- (founder:
Horace Mann), goals were a more relevant curriculum and more accessible education. Noah Webster's dictionary standardized English spelling and language; William McGuffey's hugely successful children's books taught reading in incremental stages.
Women's rightsmovement (1848) (founders: Lucretia Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony), began at the Seneca Falls Convention; published a Declaration of Sentimentscalling for the legal equality of women.
# Child labor reform
# Family planning
Abolition movement-- the Mexican northern territories in 1848 reopened the possibility of expansion of race-based chattel slavery; the adaptation of the slave system to industrial-style cottonproduction resulted in increasing dehumanization of black workers and a backlash against the slavery in the northern states; key figures included William Lloyd Garrisonand Frederick Douglass.
Prohibition 1920-1933or Temperance movement-- Anti- alcoholmovement supported by Frances Willard's Woman's Christian Temperance Union, which stressed education; Carrie Nation's Anti-Saloon League, which promoted a confrontational approach towards bars and saloons; and the Know-Nothing Party, an anti- catholic, anti- immigration, anti-drinking political party.
Mexico: La Reforma, 1850s
Political agenda of the Mexican Liberal party led by
Benito Juárezand Sebastián Lerdo de Tejada, and embodied in the 1857 Constitution of Mexico:
# Abolition of the "fueros" which granted civil immunity to members of the church and military
# Liquidation of traditional "ejido" communal lands holdings and distribution of freehold titles to the peasantry
# Expropriation and sale of concentrated church property holdings
# Curtailment of exorbitant fees by the church for administering the sacraments
# Secular public education
# Civil registry for births, marriages and deaths
Ottoman Empire: 1840s-1870s
The Tanzimat meaning "reorganization" of the
Ottoman Empire, was a period of reformation that began in 1839 and ended with the First Constitutional Era in 1876. The Tanzimat reform era was characterized by various attempts to modernize the Ottoman Empire, to secure its territorial integrity against nationalist movements and aggressive powers. The reforms encouraged Ottomanismamong the diverse ethnic groups of the Empire, attempting to stem the tide of nationalist movements within the Ottoman Empire. The reforms attempted to integrate non−Muslims and non−Turks more thoroughly into Ottoman society by enhancing their civil liberties and granting them equality throughout the Empire.
Republic of Turkey: 1920s-1930s
Atatürk's Reformswere a series of significant political, legal, cultural, social and economic changes that were implemented under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal Atatürkin the early years of the Republic of Turkey.
Acharya Gour Gangulyfor account of micro-level reform movements in rural Eastern India
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