Old World, New Worlds



Culture and Reform

American History through 1865

What are the sources of America’s attempts at reform?

Two basic impulses:

– Optimistic faith in human nature

– Desire for order and control

New Types of Literature & Art

– Romanticism

– Nationalism

Attempts at reconnecting religion to social life

– 2nd Great Awakening

– Utopian societies/New religious movements

– New Social Movements

Constructing a place for women in American society

Underlying all change - Why this reform movement at this time?

How was society changing that resulted in reform movements?

Or, Why this thing at this time?

Sudden rise in immigration - especially foreign born



So, what is being changed or reformed?

– Society

– Later – smaller groupings in society

» Communities

» Religion

» Prisons/Asylums

» Economic system

» Politics

From perfecting society to perfecting portions of society

New communities &

New Religions

 Reforming or creating institutions

– Oneida - Shakers - Ann


– Schools

» Free public education

– Mormons – Joseph

Smith/Brigham Young

» Women’s institutions

– Socialists - New

Harmony - Robert Owen

– Asylums

– Orphanages

– Transcendentalism-

Brook Farm

– Hospitals

– Reservations

Reforming social ills – Jails

» Reform

– Prohibition/temperance

» Rehabilitation

– Public Health

» Punishment


» Pennsylvania System

How did we express ourselves?

 Art

 Literature

 Romanticism

 Naturalism

 Expressions of the reforming impulse

American Romanticism

 Emerson and Transcendentalism

– Transcendentalist ideas

– Emergence of American literature

 The Clash between Nature and


» Cooper and wilderness

» Thoreau and individualism

 Songs of the Self-Reliant and Darker


» Whitman and democracy

» Melville and nature’s destructive power

Frederic Church

Thomas Cole

The Course of Empire:

The Pastoral State

Catskill Scenery


Washington Irving

James Fenimore Cooper

Walt Whitman

Herman Melville

Nathaniel Hawthorne

Edgar Allan Poe

Beverly Tucker

William Alexander Caruthers

Augustus B. Longstreet

Mark Twain

Utopian Thought


– creating a spiritual movement outside of church with the assistance of ministers

– transform society via the individual rather than via institutions

– Reason & Understanding

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau,

Bronson Alcott

– Brook Farm

» George Ripley

» Destroyed by fire 1847

Charles Fourier


Religious Reforms

 The 2nd Great Awakening

– Charles Grandison Finney

– ideal of perfectionism

 Mormons

 Shakers

 Overlapping issues

– reform society

– social reform results in individual improvement

– individual improvement results in perfect societies

Revivalism and the Social Order

Finney’s New Measures

– Charles Finney

– Conversion experience

The Philosophy of the New Revivals

– Free will and perfectionism

– Transformation of Protestantism

Religion and the Market Economy

» Finney’s Rochester revival

» Revivalism’s appeal to the middle class

» Workers and church membership

Revivalism and the Social Order

– The Significance of the Second Great Awakening

» Evangelicalism bolsters individualism and equality

Revivalism and the Social Order

The Rise of African American Churches

Bishops of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, Library of Congress

Break then,

What are the sources of America’s reforms?

 What were the two basic impulses of reform and how did they appear to contradict each other?

What were the new Types of Literature & Art appearing in America? How do they reflect a new idea of who we were?

What were the various attempts at reconnecting religion to social life? What other attempts at communal reform took place during this period?

Underlying all change - Why this reform movement at this time?

Going on - What was the woman’s and the African-

American’s (and other non-whites) place in American society?

Women’s Sphere

 Women and Revivalism

– Women’s changing lives

 The Ideals of Domesticity

– “Sisterhood” and social networks

 The Middle-Class Family in


– Decline in the birthrate

Rise of Feminism

1830s & 1840s – period of rising anti-woman legislation in the north but increasing prowoman legislation in the south

Why this time?

– Industrialization

– Competition for jobs

– Immigration

Women reformers

– Grimké sisters

– Beecher sisters

– Lucretia Mott

– Elizabeth Cady Stanton

– Dorothea Dix

The women’s sphere

Womens’ lives in the 1830 defined by:

– work, domesticity, education, religion, sisterhood

Cult of domesticity-

– leisured (middle) class women vs. working class women

– entangles women in changes in the work place/where work

& business are conducted

– moves women out of the public sphere and into the private

(women’s sphere)

– domestication of the family

Where could women exercise a public role?

– Church

– school/children’s institutions

– caring for the poor, sick, insane, imprisoned

Organizations & Impetus for female reform

 Troy Female Seminary, 1821

 Hartford Female Seminary, 1823

 World Anti-Slavery Conference, London,


 Seneca Falls Convention, 1848

– Declaration of Sentiments


 The Beginnings of the Abolitionist Movement

– Free blacks oppose colonization

– Garrison’s immediatism

 The Spread of Abolitionism

» Geography of abolitionism

» Lane Seminary rebellion

» Black abolitionists

Opponents and Divisions

» Divisions among abolitionists


– The Schism of 1840

Initial Abolitionists

 Abolitionists

– William Lloyd Garrison - radical

» The Liberator, 1831

– Theodore Dwight Weld - moderate

» American Anti-Slavery Society, 1833

 Escaped slaves

– Frederick Douglass

– Harriet Tubman

 Converts

– Sarah Grimké, Angelina Grimké, James Birney

White Abolitionists

Early opposition – repatriation of slaves

– ACS – American Colonization Society

Gradual Abolition (Gradualism)

– Benjamin Lundy – Genius of Universal


Immediate Abolition

– William Lloyd Garrison & The Liberator

– American Antislavery Society (AAS)

– Theodore Dwight Weld

Black Abolitionists

 David Walker, Boston, 1829 “Walker’s

Appeal . . .to the Colored Citizens”

– “kill or be killed”

 Frederick Douglass

– Newspaper – North Star

– Biography – Narrative of the Life of

Frederick Douglass


 Dangerous & threatening

 Increasing violence against abolitionists

– Garrison, Boston, MA, 1835

– Elijah Lovejoy, Alton, IL, 1837

 Extreme response to militant action?

Abolition Divided

Growing radicalism of Garrison

– Split AAS in 1840

– 1843 – called for disunion from south over slavery

– Embracing violence

Moderate position

– “moral suasion”

– Amistad case

Rise of the Liberty Party – 1840

– James G. Birney

– Free soil not abolition


– American Slavery as It Is: Testimony of a Thousand

Witnesses (1839)

– Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1851-52)

Women’s roles in the reform movements

Leaders - but they couldn’t speak in public

– Lucretia Mott (abolition then women’s rights)

Liaisons to other movements

– Sarah Grimké, Angelina Grimké (abolition, education, and women’s rights)

Created new movements

– Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucy Stone , Seneca Falls convention (1848)

Exceptions - when women were caring for others

– Dorthea Dix

Political Responses

 Elijah Lovejoy - first man killed for abolition

 gag law

 Liberty Party - 1840

Reform Shakes the Party System

 Women and the Right to Vote

“Why shall [women] be left only the poor resource of petition? For even petitions, when they are from women, without the elective franchise to give them backbone, are but of little consequence.”

-The Lily

Reform Shakes the Party System

 The Maine Law

– Struggle over prohibition

 Abolitionism and the Party System

» Censorship of the mails

» Gag rule

Overarching relationships

 Lyman Beecher and the Lane Seminary

 Romanticism

 Political reform

 Making the private public