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Hist 110 American Civilization I Instructor: Dr. Donald R. Shaffer Upper Iowa University.

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Presentation on theme: "Hist 110 American Civilization I Instructor: Dr. Donald R. Shaffer Upper Iowa University."— Presentation transcript:


2 Hist 110 American Civilization I Instructor: Dr. Donald R. Shaffer Upper Iowa University

3 Lecture 12 Antebellum Social Reform and Revolution: Introduction The roots of social change in the years before the Civil War can largely be found in the 2 nd Great Awakening The revival was both a product of and advanced a rival Protestant theology to Calvinism—Arminianism Calvinism held that God decided ahead of time who would be saved—the doctrine of Predestination Arminianism held that salvation was freely available to whoever had faith in Christ In other words, salvation was a matter of human agency Perfectionism The belief that people were the agents in their own salvation encouraged the idea that human beings and society were perfectible This belief provided a basis for reform movements and more revolutionary efforts at change John Calvin (1509-64), the Swiss cleric who promoted the doctrine that came to bear his name Jacob Arminius (1560-1609), the Dutch theologian who promoted the idea of human choice in salvation

4 Lecture 12 Intellectual Currents of Change Transcendentalism American intellectual movement influenced by European romanticism Stemming from the writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson He protested against the general state of American society and culture, especially the way that society became trapped by inherited customs and institutions His writings were essentially a secular call for reform Fourierism A Frenchman who believed in cooperation as the proper basis for society Such cooperation would be nurtured and showcased in carefully conceived communities called “Phalanxes” Fourier had numerous followers in the U.S., most notably Arthur Brisbane, and about 100 Phalanxes were established in there in the 1840s (all failed) Ralph Waldo Emerson Charles Fourier

5 Lecture 12 Rural Communalism: Brook Farm Brook Farm was the most famous effort to put Transcendentalist beliefs into operation It was established outside of Boston in 1841 by George Ripley as a joint-stock company The idea was to return to the simplicity of farming which would support the community, while still allowing plenty of time for intellectual activity With the money raised, Ripley and other members of the Transcendentalist Club purchased a farm near West Roxbury, Massachusetts While Brook Farm was an intellectual success it was an economic failure The Transcendentalists were more interested in the life of the mind than in farming The final blow to the community came in 1844 when Ripley attempted to reorganize the community on a Fourierist basis Plagued by debt, smallpox, and a fire, Brook Farm collapsed in 1846 George Ripley and Brook Farm

6 For some Americans, reforming existing society was not enough Dissatisfied with existing rules of economic and social behavior, they believed it was necessary to essentially rebuild society from scratch In doing so, they often discarded long standing rules of human conduct and adopted communitarian economics They often had a religious basis for their social revolutions, but it could be secular as well New Harmony, Indiana An early example of revolutionary communitarianism Founded in 1814 by the German Pietist “Harmony Society,” led by George Rapp, which held their goods in common In 1824, they sold New Harmony to Robert Owen, who wanted to build a utopian community on Fourier’s model Owen’s community floundered within 4 years due to infighting over the organization of the community Lecture 12 Social Revolutionaries George Rapp Robert Owen New Harmony, Indiana

7 Lecture 12 Religious Revolutionaries: The Shakers While experiments like New Harmony emphasized economic experimentation, others like the Shakers became more famous for their revolutionary rewriting of sexual mores and gender relations Called “Shakers” because of their emotional ritualistic dances Founded in England in 1770 by Ann Lee, who later moved with her followers to America The group became famous not for their successful communitarian community but for their unconventional sexuality They had total gender equality between men and women Strict celibacy practiced: Lee believed original sin started with sex Celibacy ultimately led to group’s decline when converts stopped arriving and their were no children to carry on Shaker men and women engaged in their distinctive ritualistic dance

8 A religious communitarian utopian community founded by John Humphrey Noyes in 1848 Noyes had long before established a reputation for unconventional beliefs and behavior Expelled from Yale for declaring himself without sin, he later lost a position as a Congregational minister for his unconventional beliefs Complex Marriage Noyes established a system under which everyone in the community was married to everyone else—people were free to switch sexual partners Male continence: men were not allowed to ejaculate during sex Stiripculture: Noyes later established a system of planned breeding to perpetuate the community Oneida survived until Noyes tried to pass leadership to his unpopular son Lecture 12 Religious Revolutionaries: The Oneida Community John Humphrey Noyes

9 Lecture 12 Religious Revolutionaries: The Mormons The most successful religious revolutionaries Nearly 14 million Mormons worldwide Religious movement based on visions of Joseph Smith Smith claimed he was given by God the task of restoring his true church Book of Mormon: Smith claimed to have received a divinely revealed history of ancient Americans Smith and followers were persecuted: moved steadily further west as a result Persecution resulted from fear of Mormon gathering (taking over communities) and Smith’s reputation for tight control over his followers Smith killed in June 1844 by an anti- Mormon mob in Carthage, Illinois Main body of adherents then fled into the Far West, where they become notorious for practicing polygamy Joseph Smith

10 Lecture 12 Antebellum Urban Popular Culture Tremendous urban growth in the early years of the 19 th century helped produce a distinct urban culture in the U.S. It was largely created by young men and women migrating into the cities from rural areas, and mixing with recently arrived immigrants With few good alternatives it was not unusual for young women to get involved in prostitution, as the commercialization of sex was a major aspect of 19 th -century American popular culture Fashion was another aspect, as young urban dwellers tried to stand out from the crowd Popular entertain was another important facet of urban culture in the North before the Civil War, particularly minstrel shows Well dressed urban toughs in pre-war New York City called “Bowery Boys”

11 Lecture 12 Antebellum Reform Movements Antebellum reform movements (also called the “Benevolent Empire”) grew out of the 2 nd Great Awakening Perfectionism and Reform The belief the people were perfectible naturally led to efforts to reform individuals and society The reform activity took place in a variety of areas Reform areas Temperance: effort to curtail drinking Education: public education became universal outside the South Prisons and Asylums: make prisons places of reform, make both prisons and insane asylums more humane Eastern State Penitentiary: a prison designed around reform Diet/Dress Bloomer dress Sylvester Graham: encouraged vegetarianism, invented the “Graham cracker” Abolition/Women Rights (see next) Floor plan for Eastern State Penitentiary (opened in 1829)

12 Lecture 12 Reformers: Abolitionism Abolitionism was concerned with ending slavery In the early decades the movement tended to advocate gradual emancipation And this was how slavery ended in the northern states following the Revolution Under the influence of the 2 nd Great Awakening, increasingly abolitionists demanded immediate abolition These immediate abolitionists saw slavery as a sin that could not be tolerated The most famous of the immediate abolitionists was William Lloyd Garrison, who founded The Liberator in 1831, which preached an uncompromising brand of immediate abolition Black Abolitionists The were also a small but fervent group of black abolitionists like the fiery David Walker and Frederick Douglass, an escaped slave, who started as a protégé of Garrison before striking out on his own Abolitionist were a small minority, even in the North William Lloyd Garrison Frederick Douglass

13 Lecture 12 Reformers: Women’s Rights The 2 nd Great Awakening and Reform called into question the restrictions on women’s roles This was particularly true of radical abolitionism, which questioned the subjugation of women as it did the same for slaves The passage of the “Married Woman’s Property Act” in NY state in April 1848, emergence of the Liberty Party, and Quaker activists helped spur a convention to agitate for women’s suffrage Seneca Falls Convention: July 19-20, 1848 “Declaration of Sentiments” Women’s suffrage remained a radical idea for most Americans

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