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National Expansion and Reform
Reformers and Crusaders
First Annual Meeting of the American Moral Reform Society

The membership of the American Moral Reform Society consisted of African Americans seeking to abolish slavery and establish liberty, justice, and humanity for all African Americans living in the United Sates. In the Declarations of Sentiment set forth at the beginning of the meeting, Society members publicly deplored the depressed conditions of African Americans in the United States and called for the immediate cessation of all laws resulting in tyranny towards and oppression of African American in the United States. The excerpt that follows is a list of the seven resolutions brought before the membership for consideration and adoption. Embedded in the resolutions are several popular national reform issues. What are they? How does the Resolutions Committee hope to use the reform issues as a means to their end of promoting freedom and dignity for African Americans in the United States?

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The Committee appointed under Mr. Brewer's resolution to prepare such business as in their judgment they may deem proper for the action of this meeting, submit the following resolutions for consideration and adoption.

1. Resolved , That we recommend to our people the propriety of forming, and sustaining Societies, for the mutual instruction of both young and old, in the branches of a good English education, and the mechanic arts, in every State, county, city, town, and village, wherever it may be practicable.

2. Resolved , That the Board of Manages of the Society be requested to appoint an agent, in every State, county, city, town, or village in the Union, wherever practicable, whose duty it shall be to form auxiliaries, and carry into effect all the objects of this society; he shall make a quarterly return to the President of said Board, of their progress, and condition of his district, in mental, and moral improvement.

3. Resolved , That the agents named in the above resolution, be and are hereby authorized to open books, and endeavour to obtain, and receive subscriber's names for the purpose of establishing a Manual Labor School, in some suitable place, hereafter to be decided upon; and they shall make their returns quarterly, with the other information to the Board, for the information of the Society--and whenever it shall appear that a sufficient amount has been subscribed--there shall be appointed by the Board, some responsible agent to collect the same for the Society--who shall then take immediate measures, to establish the said Manual Labor School, for the instruction of youth.

4. Resolved , That this Society recommend to all societies who are, or shall, become auxiliary, or shall send representatives to the annual meetings thereof, to adopt and sustain by precept, and example, all the principles of this society, especially that of total abstinence, from all intoxicating liquors.

5. Resolved , That the agents and members of this Society be, and are hereby requested, to use every exertion in their power by lectures, and addresses, c., to impress upon our people the propriety of practising the principles of economy in all things.

6. Resolved , That the practice of the principles of peace, as exemplified in the life, and character of our Blessed Redeemer, while on earth, is the most proper example for our people to follow.

7. Resolved , That the moral, upright, and correct deportment of our people, will be one of the strongest arguments we can present, in favor of Universal, civil, and religious Liberty.

Your committee in submitting this Report, beg leave to say, that, they are of opinion, that too much legislation is rather injurious, and therefore hope, that this Society will not adopt any more resolutions than they are able to carry into full, and efficient effect.

All of which is most respectfully submitted.

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View the entire document from which this excerpt came, from African American Perspectives, 1818-1907. Use your browser's Back Button to return to this point.