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Antebellum Revivalism & Reform. Ms. Susan M. Pojer Horace Greeley HS Chappaqua, NY. 1. The Second Great Awakening. “Spiritual Reform From Within” [Religious Revivalism]. Social Reforms & Redefining the Ideal of Equality. Education. Temperance. Abolitionism. Asylum & Penal Reform.

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Ms. Susan M. PojerHorace Greeley HS Chappaqua, NY


1.The Second Great


“Spiritual Reform From Within”[Religious Revivalism]

Social Reforms & Redefining the Ideal of Equality




Asylum &Penal Reform

Women’s Rights

second great awakening
Second Great Awakening
  • At the start of the 18th century many people wanted to improve the character of the American people
  • Most Americans still attended Church
  • Many leading figures were Deists
  • Helped create Unitarianism – God existed in only one person, not the Trinity
  • They stressed the goodness of human nature and saw God as loving and kind
Unitarians tended to be intellectuals like Ralph Waldo Emerson, who were rational and optimistic
  • Slowly a new emphasis on religion started to develop
  • It also influenced prison reform, temperance, woman’s movement and the abolition of slavery
  • At “camp meeting” thousands would meet to hear evangelical speakers
  • Many new believers became Baptists or Methodists
Preachers like Charles Goodison Finney appealed to thousands who wanted to be saved – especially appealing to women
  • Methodists and Baptists tended to come from the less wealthier segments of society
  • In 1844 the Methodists and Baptists both split from their northern churches over the issue of slavery
  • In 1857 the Presbyterians also split over the issue
  • In 1830 Joseph Smith claimed he had been given golden plates by an angel
  • The plates became the Book of Mormon and launched the Church of Latter-Day Saints
  • Accusations of polygamy led to continued hostility
  • In 1844 Smith and his brother were murdered in Illinois – the movement seemed in danger

The Mormons(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints)

  • 1823  Golden Tablets
  • 1830 Book of Mormon
  • 1844  Murdered in Carthage, IL

Joseph Smith(1805-1844)


The Mormons(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints)

  • Deseret community.
  • Salt Lake City, Utah

Brigham Young(1801-1877)

Brigham Young took over and in 1846-7 he led his people to Utah to avoid persecution
  • The barren land of Utah was soon made to flourish by the Mormons and the community grew
  • But problems occurred when Washington D.C. tried to control Young who had made himself governor
  • Issues of polygamy prevented the territory from becoming a state until 1896

Mother Ann Lee (1736-1784)

The Shakers

  • If you will take up your crosses against the works of generations, and follow Christ in theregeneration, God will cleanse you from allunrighteousness.
  • Remember the cries of those who are in need and trouble, that when you are in trouble, God may hear your cries.
  • If you improve in one talent, God will give you more.


  • Before 1820 much of the literature was British and few people actually had the time to read
  • After the War of 1812 and the development of a national spirit, literature became important
  • Washington Irving was the first American author to gain international recognition. He wrote Rip Van Winkle and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
James Fenimore Cooper, was the first American novelist –the Leatherstocking Tales which included The Last of the Mohicans
  • One of the effects of the flowering of literature was the transcendental movement
  • They rejected the traditional philosophies that knowledge comes from the senses and stressed that truth transcends the senses, not just through observations


(European Romanticism)

  • Liberation from understanding and the cultivation of reasoning.”
  • “Transcend” the limits of intellect and allow the emotions, the SOUL, to create an original relationship with the Universe.

Transcendentalist Thinking

  • Man must acknowledge a body of moral truths that were intuitive and must TRANSCEND more sensational proof:
    • The infinite benevolence of God.
    • The infinite benevolence of nature.
    • The divinity of man.

Transcendentalist Intellectuals/WritersConcord, MA

Ralph Waldo


Henry David



Resistance to Civil Disobedience(1849)

Self-Reliance (1841)


“The American Scholar” (1837)



A Transcendentalist Critic:Nathaniel Hawthorne(1804-1864)

  • Their pursuit of the ideal led to a distorted view of humannature and possibilities:*The Blithedale Romance
  • One should accept the world as an imperfect place:*Scarlet Letter*House of the Seven Gables

The Oneida CommunityNew York, 1848

  • Millenarianism --> the 2nd coming of Christ had already occurred.
  • Humans were no longer obliged to follow the moral rules of the past.
  • all residents married to each other.
  • carefully regulated “free love.”

John Humphrey Noyes(1811-1886)


Secular Utopian Communities


Demands ofCommunity Life

  • spontaneity
  • self-fulfillment
  • discipline
  • organizationalhierarchy

George Ripley (1802-1880)

Brook FarmWest Roxbury, MA


Robert Owen (1771-1858)

Utopian Socialist

“Village of Cooperation”

  • The Second Great Awakening caused people to seek the creation of a morally-correct society
  • Some of the most significant reforms were in the field of prison reform – especially for debt
  • By the 1830s hundreds of people were in prison for owing less than one dollar
  • The Enlightenment led to a softening of harsh punishments

4.Penitentiary Reform

Dorothea Dix


1821  first penitentiary foundedin Auburn, NY


The other big problem in America was alcoholism
  • 1826 American Temperance Society formed in Boston
  • They stressed temperance as opposed to “teetotalism”
  • Neal S. Dow became known as the “Father of Prohibition” sponsored the Maine Law in 1851, prohibited the manufacture and sale of alcohol

5.Temperance Movement

1826 - American Temperance Society“Demon Rum”!

Frances Willard

The Beecher Family



7.Educational Reform

Religious Training  Secular Education

  • MA  always on the forefront of public educational reform* 1st state to establish tax support for local public schools.
  • By 1860 every state offered free public education to whites.* US had one of the highest literacy rates.
  • Most wealthy Americans opposed free education
  • But fear of an uneducated mob with the power to vote forced many to consider public education
  • The image of the school house became a common feature in many small towns
  • Students in mixed grades usually learned the “three Rs”
  • It was prohibited to teach blacks in the South
Horace Mann campaigned for better schools, more pay for teachers, and more time in school
  • Noah Webster the “Schoolmaster of the republic” created lessons that promoted patriotism
  • The Second Great Awakening led to the opening of many small liberal arts colleges especially in the South and West
  • Women’s education was frowned upon

Horace Mann(1796-1859)

“Father of

American Education”



The McGuffey Eclectic Readers

  • Used religious parables to teach “American values.”
  • Teach middle class morality and respect for order.
  • Teach “3 Rs” + “Protestant ethic” (frugality, hard work, sobriety)


cult of domesticity
Cult of Domesticity
  • The 19th century was man’s world
  • Like slaves – women were subordinate, could be legally beaten, and could not vote
  • Women were expected to create a cult of domesticity for the home
  • Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton became prominent in the women’s rights movement
  • The most conspicuous advocate was Susan B. Anthony

7.“Separate Spheres” Concept

“Cult of Domesticity”

  • A woman’s “sphere” was in the home (it was arefuge from the cruel world outside).
  • Her role was to “civilize” her husband andfamily.
  • An 1830s MA minister:

The power of woman is her dependence. A woman who gives up that dependence on man to become a reformer yields the power God has given her for her protection, and her character becomes unnatural!


Early 19c Women

  • Unable to vote.
  • Legal status of a minor.
  • Single  could own her own property.
  • Married  no control over herproperty or her children.
  • Could not initiate divorce.
  • Couldn’t make wills, sign a contract, or bring suit in court without her husband’s permission.

Cult of Domesticity = Slavery

The 2nd Great Awakening inspired women to improve society.

Lucy Stone

Angelina Grimké

Sarah Grimké

  • American Women’sSuffrage Assoc.
  • edited Woman’s Journal
  • Southern Abolitionists




8.Women’s Rights

1840  split in the abolitionist movement over women’s role in it.

London World Anti-Slavery Convention

Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Lucretia Mott

1848 Seneca Falls Declaration of Sentiments

Feminists met at Seneca Falls, New York in 1848 at the Women’s Rights Convention
  • Stanton read the “Declaration of Sentiments” – that all men and women are created equal
  • The Seneca Falls Convention was the start of the modern women’s rights
  • Before the Civil War the movement closely tied itself to the antislavery campaign.
  • After the war there was a great sense of disappointment over the lack of success for women

9.Abolitionist Movement

  • 1816 American Colonization Society created (gradual, voluntary emancipation.

British Colonization Society symbol


Abolitionist Movement

  • Create a free slave state in Liberia, WestAfrica.
  • No real anti-slavery sentiment in the North in the 1820s & 1830s.




William Lloyd Garrison (1801-1879)

  • Slavery & Masonryundermined republicanvalues.
  • Immediate emancipation with NO compensation.
  • Slavery was a moral, notan economic issue.



The Liberator

Premiere issue  January 1, 1831



Frederick Douglass (1817-1895)

1845 The Narrative of the Life Of Frederick Douglass

1847 “The North Star”



Sojourner Truth (1787-1883)or Isabella Baumfree

1850 The Narrative of Sojourner Truth



Harriet Tubman(1820-1913)

  • Helped over 300 slaves to freedom.
  • $40,000 bounty on her head.
  • Served as a Union spy during the Civil War.