Interpreters of the Divine and the Human Condition. American Thoughts and Thinkers, 1800-1860. Unitarianism/Universalism. Rational religion Rejection of Orthodox Calvinism Unitarianism—man was too good to damn; Universalists—God was too good to damn
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Interpreters of the Divine and the Human Condition American Thoughts and Thinkers, 1800-1860
Unitarianism/Universalism • Rational religion • Rejection of Orthodox Calvinism • Unitarianism—man was too good to damn; Universalists—God was too good to damn • Fatherhood of God, Brotherhood of man, neighborhood of Boston
Evangelicalism • Academics tend to focus on the Universalists and Unitarians, many of whom were in the forefront of reform movements • The dominant U. S. religion was Evangelical Protestantism, which rejected rigid Calvinism • Emphasized reality of sin, redemption, heaven, hell, and personal responsibility for seeking and responding to salvation.
2d Great Awakening • Began as a reaction to both rational religion and apostasy • Cain Ridge Revivals in Kentucky • “Burned Over District” in Upstate NY • New Religions—LDS Church
Cain Ridge Revivals • Response to rural isolation and lack of ecclesiastical structures on the Frontier • Further emergence of low-church Protestantism • Democratization of Christianity
Peter Cartwright (1785-1873) “And who is General Jackson; if General Jackson don’t get his soul converted, God will damn him as soon as anyone else.”
“Burned Over District” • Charles Grandison Finney • “I have a retainer from the Lord to plead his cause; I cannot plead yours” • New Methods of Evangelicalism • Religious Values supported Market Revolution
LDS CHURCH • Crucible of Burned Over district • Discovery of the Tablets • Converts by the Thousands, especially among women • Persecuted by majority protestants in Palmyra, Kirtland, and Nauvoo • Smith murdered in 1844
Significance of 2d Great Awakening • Spawned Reform Movements (Temperance, Abolitionism) and Methods (Moral Suasion • Created a secular, political rhetoric • Huge growth in Church membership; especially among protestants • Protestant-based religious bigotry becomes U. S. norm
Romanticism and Transcendentalism • Reaction to the mechanistic world view of the enlightenment • U. S. version of anti-enlightenment was “transcendentalism”—focusing on the presumed true but improvable and one’s inner light • Emerson, Thoreau, and Margaret Fuller were key exponents
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) • American Scholar (1837) • Self Reliance (1841) • “Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind.”
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) • “If an man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer • Walden • Civil Disobedience
Margaret Fuller (1810-1815) • Editor of the Dial • Author of Woman in the 19th Century • “What woman needs is not as a woman to act or rule, but as a nature to grow, as an intellect to discern, as a soul to live freely, and unimpeded to unfold such powers as were given her when we left our common home.”
Belles Lettres Americanae • Nathaniel Hawthorne—Scarlet Letter • Emily Dickinson—1800 poems • Washington Irving—Knickerbocker’s . . . History of New York • James Fenimore Cooper--Leather Stocking Tales • Herman Melville—Moby Dick • Walt Whitman—Leaves of Grass
Newspapers • Richard Hoe’s Rotary Press • New York Evening Post—William Cullen Bryant • New York Tribune—Horace Greeley • New York Times—Henry J. Raymond
Ferment of Reform • Public Education—Horace Mann & Calvin Wiley • Temperance • Prison Reform—Dorothea Dix
Women’s Rights • Reaction to Domestic Sphere and to dependency on men for legal protection and political participation • Lucretia Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton
Seneca Falls Convention The history of mankind is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations on the part of man toward woman, having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over her. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world. He has never permitted her to exercise her inalienable right to the elective franchise. He has compelled her to submit to laws, in the formation of which she had no voice. He has withheld from her rights which are given to the most ignorant and degraded men--both natives and foreigners. Having deprived her of this first right of a citizen, the elective franchise, thereby leaving her without representation in the halls of legislation, he has oppressed her on all sides. He has made her, if married, in the eye of the law, civilly dead.
Utopian Societies • Shakers—Mother Ann Lee • Oneida Community—John Humphrey Noyes • New Harmony—Robert Dale Owen • Brook Farm—George Ripley
What might this all mean? • Reaction to myriad changes unleashed by Market Revolution • Desire to understand one’s place in the cosmos • Desire to tame “mankind” the way that machines were taming nature.