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Reform and Culture In Antebellum America: 1820- 1860 Chapter 13.

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Presentation on theme: "Reform and Culture In Antebellum America: 1820- 1860 Chapter 13."— Presentation transcript:

1 Reform and Culture In Antebellum America: Chapter 13

2 Religion in the Antebellum Period Increased role of rationalism in religion: Deism, Unitarians, and Universalists Enlightenment in Europe plus the Deist movement of colonial times led to an increase in rationalism in religion Unitarianism popular in New England (especially Mass) during the 1820’s and onward Rejected the trinity, said divinity was contained in one deity (Unitarian) People were essentially good, everyone could achieve salvation, key to a moral life was to do what you judged to be right using your own intellect and rationality Upper class movement, appealed to intellectuals, old Congregationalists Universalism God was kind and good, not vengeful and angry All people (rich and poor) had equal value in God’s eyes and would be saved A lower class movement, appealed to the poor and workers Unitarians and Universalists would eventually join their churches together

3 Religion (Cont.) Rational Religions—Deism, Unitarianism, Universalism—were chiefly popular among a minority of people centered on the east coast The Second Great Awakening (1820s-1850s) Reaction to increased rationalism in religion emerged during the 1820’s— return to more traditional views of God and salvation—a little less friendly Believed all people could be saved (unlike First Great Awakening) if they turned toward God Very evangelical in nature (go out and bring your message to the people) Very emotional attitude toward religion (unlike the rationalism of the Unitarians) Camp meetings (big revivals in the country) Most influential in the West and South, less influential in the East/Northeast Charles Grandison Finney—major figure

4 Impact of the 2 nd Great Awakening Increased membership for more “evangelical” churches, Baptists, Methodists, decreased membership for older churches—Congregationalists Burned Over District Area of western NY state that was particularly influenced by the 2 nd Great Awakening, several new religious movements sprung up here New Religious Sects Adventists Mormons (more on them later) Gave a lot of force to movements to reform different elements of US society Public Schools, temperance, women’s rights, prison reform, mental health reform, abolition of slavery

5 The Mormons Founded 1830, Palmyra NY (burned over district) by Joseph Smith, Church of Latter Day Saints Received a revelation from an angel that guided him to a lost book of the Bible, the Book of Mormon Contained the basis for Smith’s religion Believed that the Indians of North America were one of the lost tribes of Israel Uniquely American religion—not based on a religion from the old world Grew rapidly (more rapidly than any of the other new religions of this time) Faced persecution, why? New religion, tight nit community, voted as a large unified block in elections, had their own militia, rumors of polygamy Forced from NY to Ohio, to Missouri, and eventually to Illinois (Nauvoo), Joseph Smith killed by an angry mob in Nauvoo Brigham Young became the leader of the Mormon community, agreed to move the Mormons out west, eventually settled in Utah by the Great Salt Lake formed modern day Salt Lake City

6 Reform Movements Antebellum period saw many movements arise to improve the “morality” of ordinary Americans and to fix real or perceived problems with US society Examples: Temperance—ban alcohol State funded public schools—Horace Mann Prison reform Mental health reform—Dorothea Dix Women’s rights Seneca Falls Declaration 1848 Utopian Communities—create ideal self-sufficient communities Oneida Community, Brook Farm Association Abolition of slavery Why the 1820s? 2 nd Great Awakening Democratic Reforms of the Jacksonian era National-Republicans/Anti-Masons/Whigs—using government to solve social problems Rise of an urban middle class—time on their hands to advocate for reforms

7 Women’s Rights Antebellum attitudes about women Increasing calls for women’s education—but no role given to women in the public sphere Woman’s place regarded as in the home, helping to forge the values of her family Legal limitations: couldn’t own property, sign wills, make contracts, etc Elizabeth Cady Stanton—Seneca Falls Convention 1848 Declaration of Sentiments—equality before the law of men and women Susan B. Anthony Why women’s rights? Middle class women involved in many of the other reform movements of the time, began to advocate for their own rights Successes/limitations By states had granted women control over their property, given them legal status as individuals In no state could women vote In 21 states women could NOT own property

8 Culture during the Antebellum Period: An American Renaissance Enlightenment: rationality, reason, etc. Response to the enlightenment: Romanticism Emotion, feeling Power of the individual Being one with nature American Romanticism: Transcendentalism Transcend reason I order to reach the truth God, and the truth were all around in the world, the individual had to use his/her emotion and intuition to channel into this truth Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau Thoreau Civil Disobedience (1849) – Individuality “ the majority of one” Walden (1854) – Individual communing with nature

9 Other Romantic Writers Nathaniel Hawthorne: The Scarlet Letter Edgar Allen Poe: numerous short stories and poems Emily Dickinson: New England poet Herman Melville: Moby Dick Walt Whitman: Leaves of Grass Major Growth in newspapers during this time Increasing urban nature of US, plus new advances in communication and printing made publishing newspapers easier

10 Recap: What Caused The Push For Democracy During the Era of Jackson? Possible Theories/Explanations 1-Demographic Shifts: Move out West? 2-Economic Shifts: The rise of industry in the East? 3-Religious Shifts: The 2 nd Great Awakening? 4-Cultural Shifts: Romanticism?


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