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Reformers and Gangsters in American History from Antebellum to Prohibition

Front page of the New York’ newspaper The Sun. Features pictures of the Vesper Club gangmen with bylines touting their complete rehabilitation into society.
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Students are often intrigued by individuals who question authority and seek change. Thus, the following multimedia set was created with a focus on Reformers and Gangsters in American History from Antebellum to Prohibition (1840s-1920s). The following evidence supports the case that reformers who desired change impacted American society resulting in the rise of organized crime. This collection presents evidence focused on the climate of thought arising from the Second Great Awakening, the Abolitionist movement, and women’s struggles for social justice. The Library of Congress has curated a timeline of women’s suffrage events to provide further insight into the movement ( ). Another connective thread throughout the documents is the importance of involvement by ordinary people in movements that influence the larger society. 


Primary Source Set