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The Ferment of Reform and Culture. 1790 to 1860. Religious liberalism:. Secular rationalism Deism – (Jefferson, Franklin, and Paine) – relied on reason rather than revelation – scientific

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The ferment of reform and culture

The Ferment of Reform and Culture

1790 to 1860

Religious liberalism

Religious liberalism:

  • Secular rationalism

  • Deism – (Jefferson, Franklin, and Paine) – relied on reason rather than revelation – scientific

  • Unitarian faith – stressed the essential goodness of human nature - free will and salvation through good works- appealed to intellectuals

Second great awakening

Second Great Awakening

  • Spectacular religious revivals – reversed the trend towards secular rationalism – fueled a spirit of social reform

  • Attempt to improve Americans’ faith, morals, and character before the Second Coming of Jesus

  • Affected politics, education, family, literature, and the arts – culminating in the abolitionist movement to end slavery

Peter cartwright born sept 1 1785 died sept 25 1872

Early American "hellfire and brimstone" preacher.

Helped start the Second Great Awakening

Peter CartwrightBorn: Sept. 1,1785 Died: Sept. 25,1872

Charles grandison finney 1792 1875

Evangelist – spellbinding oratory style

Often called one of "America's foremost revivalist“

Encouraged women to pray

Opposed liquor and slavery

Charles Grandison Finney 1792 – 1875

William miller born february 15 1782 died december 20 1849

William Miller Born: February 15, 1782 Died: December 20, 1849

  • American Baptist preacher, whose followers were called Millerites - Adventists

  • Millerites rose from the “Burned Over” District in the 1830’s.

  • They expected Christ to return to earth on October 22, 1844.

Effect of religious diversity

Effect of Religious Diversity

  • Second Great Awakening widened lines between classes and regions

  • Prosperous regions in East – little effect

  • Methodists and Baptists and new sects – swelled by fervor

  • Baptist and Methodist churches split over slavery issue

Joseph smith born 23 dec 1805 died 27 jun 1844

Founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons)

Cooperative sect

Voted as a unit



Joseph SmithBorn: 23-Dec-1805 Died: 27-Jun-1844

Brigham young born 1 jun 1801 died 29 aug 1877

Second prophet of the Latter Day Saints.

Led followers to Utah

Utah grew and became prosperous

Theocracy – cooperative commonwealth

Brigham YoungBorn: 1-Jun-1801 Died: 29-Aug-1877

Compulsory public education

Compulsory Public Education

  • How is education important to a free republic?

  • If it is important, why then was early education so poor?

  • If it is not important, why did it begin?

  • Was public education “an insurance premium that the wealthy paid for stability and democracy?”

Free schools for a free people

Free Schools for a Free People

  • “ Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government.” – Thomas Jefferson

  • Early republic – tax supported schools – rare – opposition to “free public education”

  • Manhood suffrage  triumph of tax-supported school 1825-1850

Horace mann born 4 may 1796 died 2 aug 1859


Advocated for public education

basis of quality education is good teachers

Wanted longer school terms, higher pay for teachers, expanded curriculum

Pushed for reform in mental institutions and called for the end of slavery.

Known as "the father of the American common school“ - to serve individuals of all social classes and religions.

Horace MannBorn: 4-May-1796 Died: 2-Aug-1859

Noah webster born 16 oct 1758 died 28 may 1843

Early textbook writer -- “Schoolmaster of the Republic”


Standardized the American language

Noah WebsterBorn: 16-Oct-1758 Died: 28-May-1843

William h mcguffey born sept 23 1800 in pa died 1873

McGuffey’s Reader

Text for most schools from 1836-1900

Contained religious messages

Sought to instill morality, patriotism, and idealism

122,000,000 copies sold

William H. McGuffeyBorn: Sept. 23,1800(in PA.) Died: 1873

Emma willard born feb 23 1787 died april 15 1870

Women's rights advocate

1821 founded the first women's school of higher education, the Troy Female Seminary.

Troy became famous, offering collegiate education to women and new opportunity to women teachers.

Emma WillardBorn Feb. 23, 1787 Died April 15, 1870

An age of reform

An Age of Reform

  • Promises of the Second Great Awakening led to a wave of reform

  • Women were prominent in the reform movements

  • Targets/goals?

    • Suffrage

    • Prison reform and criminal codes

    • Alcohol

    • Slavery

Dorothea dix born 4 apr 1802 died 17 jul 1887

Dorothea DixBorn: 4-Apr-1802 Died: 17-Jul-1887

  • Activist for the insane

  • Through a vigorous program of lobbying state legislatures and the United States Congress, created the first generation of American mental asylums.

Neal s dow

Neal S. Dow

  • “Father of Prohibition”

  • Employer of labor – witnessed debauching effect of drink

  • Sponsored 1st prohibition law in Maine in 1851

Lucretia mott born 3 jan 1793 died 11 nov 1880

Lucretia MottBorn: 3-Jan-1793 Died: 11-Nov-1880

  • Quaker, abolitionist, social reformer and proponent of women's rights.

  • Co-organizer of Seneca Falls Convention

  • Signatory of the Declaration of Sentiments.

Elizabeth cady stanton born 12 nov 1815 died 26 oct 1902

President of the National Woman Suffrage Association from 1865-90

Drafted the Declaration of Sentiments (Demanded the vote at Seneca Falls)

Co –organized Seneca Falls

Elizabeth Cady StantonBorn: 12-Nov-1815 Died: 26-Oct-1902

Stanton (seated) with Susan B. Anthony

Susan b anthony born 15 feb 1820 died 13 mar 1906

Prominent women's rights advocate

In 1869, she and Elizabeth Cady Stanton founded the National Woman's Suffrage Association (NWSA)

Arrested and fined for trying to vote in the 1872 Presidential election

Age 26

Susan B. AnthonyBorn: 15-Feb-1820 Died: 13-Mar-1906

Elizabeth blackwell born february 3 1821 died may 31 1910

Abolitionist and women's rights activist

1849 she became the first woman to earn a medical degree in the United States.Barred from practice in most hospitals, she founded her own infirmary, the New York Infirmary for Indigent Women and Children, in 1857.

Elizabeth BlackwellBorn: February 3, 1821 Died: May 31, 1910

Margaret fuller born 23 may 1810 died 19 jul 1850

Friend of Ralph Waldo Emerson and associated with transcendentalism

Edited the transcendentalist journal, The Dial from 1840 to 1842

Joined Horace Greeley's New York Tribune as literary critic

First female journalist to work on the staff of a major newspaper.

Fuller's major work, Woman in the Nineteenth Century (1845), argued for the independence of women.

Margaret FullerBorn: 23-May-1810 Died: 19-Jul-1850

Utopian societies

Utopian Societies

  • Reformers set up over 40 communities

  • New Harmony, Indiana

  • Brook Farm in Massachusetts – transcendentalist

  • Oneida Community

Robert owen born 14 may 1771 died 17 nov 1858

New Moral World

Owen's envisioned successor of New Harmony. Owenites

fired bricks to build it, but construction never took place.

Robert OwenBorn: 14-May-1771 Died: 17-Nov-1858

  • Idealistic Scottish manufacturer

  • Founder of the Cooperative Movement

  • Began a communal society in 1825 in New Harmony, Indiana.

  • It failed.

John humphrey noyes born sept 3 1811 died april 13 1886

American utopian socialist. He founded the Oneida Community in 1848.

There were smaller communities in Wallingford, Conn.; Newark, NJ; Putney,Vt; and Cambridge, Vt.

The Oneida Community dissolved in 1880,

John Humphrey NoyesBorn: Sept. 3, 1811   Died: April 13, 1886

Scientific achievement

Scientific Achievement

  • Early Americans interested in practical science

  • Louis Agassiz – biologist – insisted on original research

  • Audubon – naturalist

  • Sylvester Graham

John james audubon born 26 apr 1785 in haiti died 27 jan 1851

American naturalist

He painted, catalogued, and described the birds of North America.

Published Birds of America, in 1838.

John James AudubonBorn: 26-Apr-1785 (in Haiti) Died: 27-Jan-1851

Sylvester graham born july 5 1794 died september 11 1851

American Presbyterian minister

Early advocate of dietary reform

Vegetarianism and temperance movement

1829 - invented Graham flour and Graham bread, made from unsifted and unbolted flour and free from chemical additives

Used to make graham crackers and other products.

Sylvester GrahamBorn: July 5, 1794 Died: September 11, 1851

Artistic achievement

Artistic Achievement

The Hudson River School of Art

The ferment of reform and culture

The Hudson River School used a Romantic approach to depict scenes of America's wilderness, drawing inspiration from the Hudson River Valley, the Catskills, the Berkshires and the newly opened West.

The ferment of reform and culture

Thomas Cole, Thomas Doughty and Asher B. Durand were among the early practitioners of this style and they had a significant influence on the artists that followed them.

The ferment of reform and culture

Thomas Cole was a teenager when his family emigrated from England. He was a passionate devotee of the scenery of his adopted country. Cole is considered to be the finest American landscape artist of the 19th Century.

The ferment of reform and culture

1825 to 1875 was a time of powerful national pride in the United States. The dramatic and uniquely American landscapes by Thomas Cole prompted a positive response from the American public. Inspiration and spectacular natural beauty are reflected in the famous paintings, Niagara by Frederic Edwin Church, and Yellowstone Falls by Albert Bierstadt.

Niagara falls by frederic edwin church american 1826 1900

NIAGARA FALLS by Frederic Edwin Church (American 1826-1900)

Albert bierstadt yellowstone falls ca 1881

Albert Bierstadt, Yellowstone Falls, ca. 1881,

The ferment of reform and culture

Thomas Doughty was one of the first American painters to restrict himself to landscape painting as his genre. Some consider him the catalyst for the Hudson River School given he was the one who recognized early on the magnificent subject matter offered within the American countryside.

The ferment of reform and culture

Asher B. Durand's early career was as an engraver. When he began to paint it was as first a portraitist before turning his attention to nature. Cole was a major inspiration upon him.

The ferment of reform and culture

The Hudson River School looked into the conflict between modernity and nature as well as the effects of increasing industrialization and westward expansion.

Title view on the schoharie 1826 artist thomas cole american 1801 1848

Title: View on the Schoharie, 1826 Artist: Thomas Cole (American 1801-1848)

Title otsego lake looking north from two mile point ca 1883 artist edward b gay 1837 1928

Title: Otsego Lake Looking North from Two Mile Point, ca. 1883 Artist: Edward B.Gay (1837-1928)

The ferment of reform and culture

Title: Cooperstown from Three Mile Point, ca. 1850 Artists: Louis Remy Mignot (1831-1870) & Julius Gollmann (-1898)

Title emporium of indian curiosities 1856 artist joachim ferdinand richardt american 1819 1895

Title: Emporium of Indian Curiosities, 1856 Artist: Joachim Ferdinand Richardt (American 1819-1895)

Title cider making in the country 1863 artist george henry durrie american 1820 1863

Title: Cider Making in the Country, 1863 Artist: George Henry Durrie (American 1820-1863)

Gilbert stuart

Gilbert Stuart

  • One of the greatest portrait painters of his time

  • Best known for his portraits of Washington

Gilbert stuart1

Portrait of George Washington for the White House, 1797. This is the painting that Dolley Madison rescued when the White House was burned during the War of 1812

George Washington (a.k.a.: the "Athenaeum Head;" ca. 1798; Stuart copy of [unfinished] 1796 original),

Gilbert Stuart

John singleton copley born july 3 1738 died september 9 1815

American artist of the colonial period, famous for his portraits of important figures in colonial New England, particularly men and women of the middle class.

His portraits were innovative in that they tended to portray their subjects with artifacts that were indicative of their lives.

Portrait of Copley by Gilbert Stuart.

John Singleton CopleyBorn: July 3, 1738 Died: September 9, 1815

John singleton copley

Portrait of the Copley family, 1776

Portrait of Samuel Adams

Portrait of Paul Revere

John Singleton Copley

National literature

National Literature

  • After War of Independence and War of 1812 – new wave of nationalism

  • Knickerbocker Group – New York

Washington irving born 3 apr 1783 died 28 nov 1859

Washington IrvingBorn: 3-Apr-1783 Died: 28-Nov-1859

  • "TheLegend of Sleepy Hollow"

  • "Rip van Winkle"

  • He and James Fenimore Cooper were the first American writers to earn acclaim in Europe.

  • Noted for speaking against the mistreatment of Native American tribes by Europeans and Americans.

James fenimore cooper born 15 sep 1789 died 14 sep 1851

Leatherstocking Tales, a series of novels featuring the hero Natty Bumppo, known by European settlers as "Leatherstocking," andby the Native Americans as "Pathfinder," "Deerslayer," or "Hawkeye".

Best known of the series is The Last of the Mohicans

James Fenimore CooperBorn: 15-Sep-1789 Died: 14-Sep-1851



  • New ideas in literature, religion, culture, and philosophy

  • Emerged in New England

  • Began as a protest against the general state of culture and society at the time

  • Ideal spiritual state that ‘transcends’ the physical and empirical and is only realized through the individual’s intuition, rather than the senses

  • Look within yourself, rather than outward with your senses, for meaning

Ralph waldo emerson born 25 may 1803 died 27 apr 1882

Author, poet, philosopher

1836. Nature.

1837. "The American Scholar".

1841 The Transcendentalist

1844. Essays: Second Series.

1856. Representative Men; on Plato, Swedenborg, Montaigne, Shakespeare, Napoleon, and Goethe.

'1856. English Traits.

1860. The Conduct of Life

1862. "Thoreau"; a eulogy for Henry David Thoreau.

Ralph Waldo EmersonBorn: 25-May-1803 Died: 27-Apr-1882

Henry david thoreau born 12 jul 1817 died 6 may 1862

Author, critic, naturalist, transcendentalist, pacifist, abolitionist, tax resister and philosopher.

Walden, a reflection upon simple living amongst nature

Civil Disobedience, an argument for individual resistance to civic government as moral opposition to an unjust law.

Philosophy had tremendous influence on leaders like Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr.

Henry David ThoreauBorn: 12-Jul-1817 Died: 6-May-1862

Nathaniel hawthorne born 4 jul 1804 died 19 may 1864

19th century American novelist and short story writer.

Key figure in the development of American literature.

The House of the Seven Gables

Neighbors included Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau.

Nathaniel HawthorneBorn: 4-Jul-1804 Died: 19-May-1864

Herman melville born 1 aug 1819 died 28 sep 1891

American novelist, essayist and poet.

Moby-Dick is Melville's most famous work and is often considered one of the greatest American novels. It was dedicated to his friend Nathaniel Hawthorne.

Herman MelvilleBorn: 1-Aug-1819 Died: 28-Sep-1891

Henry wadsworth longfellow born 27 feb 1807 died 24 mar 1882

American poet

The Song of Hiawatha, Paul Revere's Ride, A Psalm of Life and Evangeline.

Member of a group of poets known as the Fireside Poets: Longfellow, William Cullen Bryant, John Greenleaf Whittier, James Russell Lowell, and Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., who were the first American poets whose popularity rivaled that of British poets

Henry Wadsworth LongfellowBorn: 27-Feb-1807 Died: 24-Mar-1882

James russell lowell born 22 feb 1819 died 12 aug 1891

James Russell LowellBorn: 22-Feb-1819 Died: 12-Aug-1891

  • Romantic poet, critic, satirist, writer, diplomat, and abolitionist.

  • Helped found a literary journal, The Pioneer. It opened the way to new ideals in literature and art, and to as yet unknown writers such as NathanielHawthorne, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Whittier, Edgar Allan Poe.

Walt whitman born 31 may 1819 died 26 mar 1892

Poet, essayist, journalist, and humanist, and considered one of America's best and most influential poets.

Leaves of Grass

The book did not attract the attention of the reading public until a letter from Ralph Waldo Emerson to the poet, in which the volume was characterized as the "most extraordinary piece of wit and wisdom that America has yet contributed", was published in the New York Tribune.

Walt WhitmanBorn: 31-May-1819 Died: 26-Mar-1892

Louisa may alcott born 29 nov 1832 in germantown pa died 6 mar 1888

American novelist.

Best known for the novel Little Women, which she wrote in 1868.

Moved to Boston with her family in 1844, where her father established an experimental school and joined the Transcendentalist Club with Emerson and Thoreau

Louisa May AlcottBorn: 29-Nov-1832(in Germantown, PA) Died: 6-Mar-1888

Edgar allan poe born 19 jan 1809 died 7 oct 1849

Poet, short story writer, editor, and one of the leaders of the American Romantic Movement. Best known for his tales of the macabre.

Was one of the early American practitioners of the short story and a progenitor of detective fiction and crime fiction.

His poem "The Raven" appeared in the Evening Mirror and became a popular sensation.

Edgar Allan PoeBorn: 19-Jan-1809 Died: 7-Oct-1849

Stephen foster born 4 jul 1826 died 13 jan 1864

Stephen Foster Born: 4-Jul-1826 Died: 13-Jan-1864

  • Birthplace: Lawrenceville, PA

  • Pre-eminent songwriter in the United States of the 19th century

  • Sometimes known as the "father of American music.”

  • "Oh! Susanna", "Camptown Races", "My Old Kentucky Home", "Old Black Joe", "Beautiful Dreamer" and "Old Folks at Home" ("Swanee River")

P t barnum phineas t barnum born 5 jul 1810 died 7 apr 1891

American showman

Best remembered for founding the circus that eventually became Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus.

P. T. Barnum(Phineas T. Barnum)Born: 5-Jul-1810 Died: 7-Apr-1891

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