In accessing 19 century reform, Reverend William Mitchell, in 1835, commented: “This is a soul-stirring and will be so recorded in the time.” Countless reformers agreed and were awash with efforts to bring about change. A sisterhood of reforms characterized the American character and mission and in all this, women played a significant role. In fact Reverend remarked in 1836, It is to female influence and exertion that many of our best schemes of charity are due.” Women worked tirelessly for each of the reforms, in particular the anti-slavery crusade, in attempt to create a new moral and ethical order. However they did so within the confines of the limits set for them by men, whose liberalism and willingness to accept the works of women stopped short at the barriers of traditions and prejudice. Women, then bent on testingthe principles of liberty and equality, directed their attention to acquiring for themselves some of the freedom of opportunity they sought others. And thus the American Women’s Suffrage Movement was born.
Who were the women reformers? What was their intent? What lessons did they learn through their activism? How did women begin to see themselves in relationship to conventional institutions in society? What other influencing factors or ideas compelled them to work for change in the American society? Where did they believe that change should take place? What was their resolve? And how was that resolve articulated? Did that resolve include all women in America at the time? How did their call for changes in society for women differ from that of Margaret Fuller? How did the society respond to their call for civil and political rights for women? Were there any women victories? In looking at reform and the impending Civil War , did the women reformers accomplish what they intended? If so How? If not Why not? What legacy did the reformers leave for future generations of Americans?