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Religion and Thought Before the Civil War Chapter 8 Section 1. Objectives. Describe the Second Great Awakening. Explain why some religious groups suffered from discrimination in the mid-1800s. Trace the emergence of the utopian and Transcendentalist movements.

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Objectives

  • Describe the Second Great Awakening.
  • Explain why some religious groups suffered from discrimination in the mid-1800s.
  • Trace the emergence of the utopian and Transcendentalist movements.
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In the early 1800s, a new burst of religious enthusiasm swept America.

  • Revivalist preachers urged a renewal of faith that they felt was critical to the nation’s future.
  • Religious fervor was fanned at outdoor religious services, know as revivals.
  • As church membership skyrocketed, a social reform movement also developed.
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Evangelical revivals began on the Kentucky frontier and spread to the cities of the Northeast by the 1820s.

Many sermons preached the belief that the United States was leading the world into this period of glory that would follow the Second Coming of Jesus.

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Revivals or camp meetings sometimes went on for days. They often included inspiring music and plentiful food.

african american religion
African Americans embraced because it promised an afterlife of eternal freedom after a life of enslavement.

Slave revolts increased, with their leaders claiming religious inspiration.

African-American Religion
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The Mormons

  • Mormons were attacked in New York, Ohio, and Missouri.
  • They fled to Nauvoo, Illinois, where Smith was murdered in 1844.
  • Finally, Brigham Young led them to the Great Salt Lake in Utah, far from hostile neighbors.

Founded by Joseph Smith, faced discrimination and persecution.

discrimination
Some believed that Catholic loyalty to the Pope was incompatible with American democracy.

State constitutions prohibited Jewish people from holding office.

Discrimination
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Utopian Communities

  • Sought to share property, labor, and family life. Some 50 of these settlements were organized, but they did not last long.
  • In contrast, the Shakers flourished during the early 1800s, largely because they produced high-quality crafts and produce.
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Transcendentalists

  • Believed that truth about the universe came from nature and their own consciences rather than from religious doctrine.
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Henry David Thoreau, one of the most important Transcendentalists, was jailed in 1846 after refusing to pay taxes to support the Mexican-American war, which he viewed as immoral.

In “Civil Disobedience,” he argues that a person must be true to his conscience even if it means breaking the law.

In Walden, he wrote about the religious inspiration he derived from nature by living alone in the woods for two years.