Important Reforms: 1825-1860

January 18, 2017 Law

Prevalent Reforms in the United States 1825-1860.

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was a time of extensive social reform. The period, which formally spanned between 1900 and 1918, was preceded by nearly a century of discontent. During the Progressive Era Americans saw the growth of the women’s suffrage movement, the campaign against child labor, the fight for the eight-hour workday, and the uses of journalism and cartooning to expose “big business” corruption. Prior to the Progressive Era child offenders over the age of seven were imprisoned with adults. Such had been the model historically. But the actions of political and social reformers, as well as the research of psychologists in the 18th and 19th centuries, began a shift in society’s views on juvenile delinquents. Early reformers who were interested in rehabilitating rather than punishing children built the New York House of Refuge in 1824. The reformatory housed juveniles who earlier would have been placed in adult jails. Beginning in 1899, individual states took note of the problem of youth incarceration and began establishing similar youth reform homes. Prior to the 20th century we can observe the seeds of such reforms in the mid to late 1800s, a time in which the beginning concepts of such change were being forged in fire. Between the women’s rights movement to the reformation of juvenile delinquents, such reforms would certainly be used to develop democratic principles.

A grasp of the current conflict surrounding the responsibility and direction of the juvenile justice system becomes more obtainable when one takes into consideration how the system has progressed since its inception. The juvenile justice system was created in the late 1800s to reform U.S. policies regarding youthful offenders. Since that time, a number of reforms – aimed at both protecting the “due process of law” rights of youth, and creating an aversion toward jail among the young – have made the juvenile justice system more comparable to the adult system, a shift from the U.


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