Religion Sparks Reform

Religion Sparks Reform
The Second Great Awakening
The Second Great Awakening was a large-scale religious
movement in the early to mid-19th century that led to an
upswing in church membership.
This movement rejected the idea of predetermination and
emphasized individual responsibility for seeking salvation.
Large gatherings, or revivals, of 20,000
people would meet for days to hear the
preaching of men such as Charles
Grandison Finney.
How was this idea of individualism and
responsibility similar to the political times?
The Jacksonian democracy promoted the
power of the common citizen; an individual
in society.
The Black Second Great Awakening
The Second Great Awakening brought
Christianity to blacks, both free and enslaved, as
In the South, blacks went to the same churches
as whites, but were segregated into sections. In
the Northeast, blacks had separate churches like
Richard Allen’s Bethel African Church in PA.
This church grew
rapidly and became a
political, cultural, and
social center for
blacks that would
provide for its
followers. Allen also
held the 1st Black
National Convention
Religion was not the only way in which
reform ideals were expressed. Literature
became an outlet for many to address
the need for change in society.
Ralph Waldo Emerson was a N.E.
writer who led a group practicing
Transcendentalism. This
philosophical movement emphasized
simplicity, natural truth, and
Henry David Thoreau was a popular
author of this movement and
embodied the beliefs by abandoning
society and living alone on the shores
of Walden Pond for 2yrs.
Thoreau believed in the importance of the individual
conscience and urged people to not obey laws they
considered unjust. What was the term for this, and
who were some people who used these ideals later
in history?
Civil Disobedience
Civil Disobedience was an act of peaceful
protest used by famous people such as Martin
Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Ghandi.
Unlike the appeal to emotions
found in both revivals and
transcendental literature, the
Unitarian beliefs emphasized
reason and appeals to
They agreed with revivalists that
individual and social reform was
possible and important to the
good of mankind.
William Ellery
Unitarian Leader.
Unlike revivals, the Unitarians
believed that conversion was a
gradual process and a long road
to perfection.
The torch, a symbol
for the Unitarians.
Utopian Communities
The optimism of religious and social
reform also led to the formation of Utopian
These communities strived for selfsufficiency and idealized harmony.
Many of these “experiments” failed after a
few years.
Shaker Communities
The Shakers were groups established in NY, N.E.,
and on the frontiers and followed the teachings of
Ann Lee.
Known for their songs which they would “shake”
and dance to, they believed in equality and
What in the Shaker belief system
ultimately led to them “dying” off
over time?
Shakers vowed to not marry or
procreate upon converting, and
therefore required converts and
adoption to sustain their
communities. In the 1840’s, their
population was 6,000. By 1999,
there were only 7 recorded Shakers
in the U.S.
Reforming Asylums & Prisons
After a French writer harshly criticized the American
prisons for their severe and rigid control of criminals.
Dorothea Dix fought to reform the prison system when she
discovered that the mentally ill were imprisoned in regular
prisons, rather than being hospitalized.
Dix wrote to the Massachusetts
legislature, reporting her findings on
the mentally ill. This led to several
reforms over the next 7yrs, including
southern states persuaded by Dix.
Prisons began to aim towards rehabilitation… How did
this embody the ideals of the awakening?
“Hope for everyone,” was the idea of the time. Salvation
could be earned, and no one was surely damned.
Reforming Schools
What did schools look like prior to the mid-19th
Classrooms were not divided by grade and attendance was not
mandatory. Many stopped going after the age of 10. There
was also no uniform education policy throughout the nation.
Demands for state-funded public school led to
controversy from the wealthy, why?
Horace Mann was the 1st secretary of the Mass
Board of Ed in 1837, and through this position
he established reforms such as curriculum
changes, teacher training, and more money
being spent on education.
 The focus placed on individual responsibility in
religion transitioned to societal reforms as more
people felt personally responsible for making society
 Schools, prisons and communities felt the
shockwaves of change as individuals tried to shape
how the future should look.
 The issues of slavery, women’s roles, and the
workplace would also become targets for reform
 HW: Ch. 8.2 DENotes (pp.248-253)
 Have a great day and leave the room better than you
found it.