Second Great Awakening Reform Movements Essay Examples

2002 Ap Dbq: Reform Movements Essay

604 WordsJan 5th, 20063 Pages

Between the years 1825 and 1850, the US underwent a series of social and political reforms which attempted to democratize American life. Reform movements during this period of Jacksonian Democracy attempted to dissolve disunity in the social ladder and pushed for equal rights among all citizens. Stemming from the Second Great Awakening in the early 19th century, many of these reforms were backed by religious ideals over democratic principles. At the forefront of the cause, however, was the hope for a more democratic system in which there was not only popular sovereignty, but a sense of social leveling. The Second Great Awakening was a religious revival that gave new religious applications of old Enlightenment ideals of democracy and…show more content…

Women also equated their limited rights and roles with that of the oppression of slaves (Doc. C), leading to reform movements that sought to eliminate the cult of domesticity and doctrine of separate spheres which created clear cut divides between the sexes. To overcome this, women began to push for legal reform for equal rights and suffrage during the women's rights movement in hopes of achieving a more universal democracy (Doc. I). Male suffrage was also expanded during this era, as most states eliminated the need for land ownership to vote, granting voice to the minority which did not own their own land. Nativism during this period may seem backward and hypocritic in denying voice and vote to immigrants, but in actuality its anti-immigration sentiment served to defend democratic rights from foreign nations (Doc. D). Ultimately, the goal of reformation was to achieve democratic perfection; a system of communalism in which there were no inequalities nor social evils to speak of (Doc. F). The idea of utopian socialism, fostered by the British reformer Robert Owen, preached such ideals, and lead to the attempt of several utopian societies. Such reform attempts were not always met with warm welcome, however, as some argued their contempt and complete disregard for the accomplishments of the past thanks to the existing order (Doc. G). During 1825-1850, Jacksonian ideals were

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In antebellum America, a religious revival called the Second Great Awakening resulted in thousands of conversions to evangelical religions. Itinerant preachers, such as Charles Granison Finney, traveled from town to town, lecturing to crowds about eradicating sin in the name of perfectionism. Camp meetings, or large religious gatherings, also gave the devout opportunities to practice their religion and for potential conversions of non-believers. In addition to a religious movement, other reform movements such as temperance, abolition, and women's rights also grew in antebellum America. The temperance movement encouraged people to abstain from consuming alcoholic drinks in order to preserve family order. The abolition movement fought to abolish slavery in the United States. The women's rights movement grew from female abolitionists who realized that they too could fight for their own political rights. In addition to these causes, reforms touched nearly every aspect of daily life, such as restricting the use of tobacco and dietary and dress reforms.


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