Knives in their Brains

“The ancient manners were giving way. There grew
a certain tenderness on the people, not before
remarked. It seemed a war between intellect and
affection; a crack in nature, which split every
church in Christendom… The key to the period
appeared to be that the mind had become aware of
itself… the young men were born with knives in
their brains.” R.W. Emerson
• 2nd Great Awakening: belief that individuals were straying into
Catholicism and Unitarianism- wanted to create a Protestant state
• Lyman Beecher- leader of the Northern wing of the Great
Awakening: campaign against sin and infidelity
• Revivalism- renewal of having Jesus Christ being the personal lord
and savior. Commit to a higher goal rather than just self interest…
all levels of society, rich & poor.
• Charles G. Finney: appeal to the heart rather than doctrine- belief
that one could be totally free from sin. Allowed women to pray.
Free Will
• “Right Ground”
• Camp meetings- the jerks- Peter Cartwright… knocked them out.
• Circuit riders- authorized by Methodists… maintained religion in
sparsely populated areas where ministers did not live.
• Horace Mann- seeking a model of education in Europe (specifically
• Free public education: there were secondary schools but no free
education (though New England had a free public education)
• More 3 R’s but make it attractive. Additionally, the basics: 1) Free
elementary and secondary schools available to all; 2) professional
teacher training; 3) compulsory attendance until a certain age
• Teacher training: first American teacher college established in 1839
• Conflicts between the poor and the rich- did not want to have to
pay taxes for a lower class.
Insane & the Criminal
Point of the judicial system- punish or reform?
• Urbanization brought challenges to traditional care for the
criminals, poor and insane: “discovery of the asylum”
• Based on strict regiments of work or isolation- reflect on sin
• But led to overcrowding and brutal discipline- did not achieve
intended results.
• Dorothea Dix… mental health
• Misunderstood
• 32 mental hospitals
• “Demon Rum”
• 10 Nights in a Bar Room
• Neal Dow: Maine 1851
• “Dry”- 13 states by 1861
Women’s Rights
• Cult of Domesticity- women’s place was in a home and on a
pedestal- separate spheres
• Initiated out of the abolitionist movement- public speaking and
calling for equal rights: Sarah and Angelina Grimke
• Lucretia Mott- not recognized at the London anti-slavery
• Elizabeth C. Stanton
• Susan B. Anthony
Goals of Women
• Equal Education
• Equal Employment
• Rights of Property
• Right to Vote
Seneca Falls Manifesto 1848
• Transcendentalism: “a belief in the divinity of human nature”
transcend normal thought to become one with the universe
• Truth can be found through the observation of nature
• Former Unitarians who wanted less doctrine and denominations
• Ralph Waldo Emerson- oversoul, radical individualism
• “The American Scholar”
• Henry David Thoreau
• “Walden” “Civil Disobedience”
• Early writers- James F. Cooper, Washington Irving
• Nathaniel Hawthorne- rejection of utopianism- society is flawed
• Herman Melville
• Edgar Allen Poe
• Walt Whitman- life is beautiful.
• Mormons- Joseph Smith
• Millerites- William Miller
• Shakers- Mother Ann Lee (feminine incarnation of Christ)- strict
celibacy… eventually die off- no reproduction
• Oneida- Johnny H. Noyes- free love: God had already arrived and the
old doctrine was no longer needed, complex marriage, mutual
Charles Fourier- Frenchmen who adopted the ideas of equal
community work.
• New Harmony- George Rapp, Robert Owen- common and equal
• Brook Farm- George Ripley: transcendental living but with
cooperation amongst the village- leads to new educational ideas…
falls apart after a fire destroys a central building