Social Reform

Essay by OshxKoshxBgoshHigh School, 11th grade January 2005

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The social changes in American society were an effort to cure many of the problems that had developed during the great burst of industrial growth in the last part of the 19th century. The frontier had been controlled, great cities and businesses developed and an overseas empire established, but not all citizens shared in the new wealth, status and brightness.

During the social reform of America, the Eighteenth Amendment was passed. This banned the manufacture, sale, and transportation of alcohol in the United States. However, America did not stop drinking. In fact, if Prohibition was designed to stop amoral behavior it backfired. Bootlegging, the illegal manufacturing and selling of alcohol became incredibly profitable as underground bars called speakeasies stocked up on booze for their customers. Bootlegging became its own criminal development leading the establishment of organized crime. Finally in 1933, the Twenty-first Amendment was passed which abolished the Eighteenth Amendment, ending Prohibition.

Another social change was the women's suffrage. Suffragists organized the Seneca Falls Convention in upstate New York. There, Stanton created the Declaration of Rights and Sentiments which was modeled after the Declaration of Independence. The Declaration of Rights and Sentiments contained several resolutions including that a man should not deny a woman her rights, take her property or refuse to allow her to vote. Suffragists were greatly disappointed to learn that women were excluded from the Fifteenth Amendment that granted all men the right to vote. However, they continued to protest, march, and organize in the hope that they would soon be able to legally vote. Finally in 1920, the Nineteenth Amendment was passed which provided women with the right to vote.

The Eighteenth and Nineteenth Amendments were only two out the many social changes that occurred in American society. Unfortunately, not all changes worked out. For example,