Revivalism and Reform in Antebellum America by aua56698


									Revivalism and Reform in
  Antebellum America

    The Second Great Awakening Democratizes Salvation

                                           A Camp Meeting

    Second Great Awakening occurred in the context of great migration west and a fascination with
     the lifestyle of the American wilderness
    Admission of new states west of the Appalachians provided opportunity for Western expansion
    Thousands of people began moving west
    This put considerable strain on religion
    Churches needed to be more flexible due to these socio-economic upheavals
    The “parish” had to be reapplied to changing times
    Presbyterian preacher James McGready was instrumental in the Second Great Awakening
    Hosted what became known as frontier camp meetings
    Loosely organized church meetings in which preachers delivered informal sermons to large, non-
     affiliated congregations
    Many conversions took place during camp meetings                                               2
     Charles Finney: "What a Revival of Religion Is"
   The Second Great Awakening
    rethought the old Calvinist doctrine
    of predestination
        Salvation is reserved for the "elect"
         who are pre-chosen by God
   It favored of the view that man is
    responsible for both his own
    salvation and the moral condition of
    society at large
   Led to profound changes in the
    institutional structure of the church
   Laypeople began to transform
    society in God's image through
    missionary, evangelical, and
    benevolent work
   Prominent Northern evangelist
    Charles Finney defined revivalism
    as a human effort to catalyze
    conversion and salvation for
    individual souls, rather than a
    miracle bestowed by God                      Charles Finney

Anti-Slavery Protestant Voices
                 Protestant dissent to slavery came to
                  prominence after the Second Great
                 While not exclusively anti-slavery by
                  nature, it did act as a catalyst for many anti-
                  slavery Protestant voices to emerge
                 One such advocate of abolition was William
                      In The Great American Question, he calls
                       for an abolitionist movement to take the
                       1848 election, thus linking politics and
                      Slavery, argued Wilson, goes directly
                       against all that is taught in the Bible
                 John Fee wrote An Anti-Slavery Manual
                      Admonishes slavery providing a slightly
                       different religious argument
                      Argues against slavery in terms of sin
                      Like Wilson, Fee felt that slavery was an
                       affront to Christianity
   John Fee           Asserted that slave-holders needed to
                       abolish slavery for fear for their souls
                           Hell awaited those that did not renounce
                                 An argument used by many fundamentalists
                                  within the Christian faith        4
         The Temperance Movement
   A strong reformist impulse animated religious life
    during the Second Great Awakening
   The faithful sought to remake society in God's image
        This extended to civic life, as illustrated by the formation
         of thousands of Temperance societies
        Efforts were successful in reducing the per capita
         consumption and encouraging stricter state regulation of
   Lyman Beecher, father of Harriet Beecher Stowe, was
    a famous social activist
        Concerned about the negative impact of alcohol on
   Abraham Lincoln, in a speech to the Washington
    Temperance Society, touched on the growing success
    and popularity of the temperance movement, and the
    obstacles that lay ahead
   The 1846 constitution of the Daughters of
    Temperance illustrates such societies’ creation of a
    new social outlet and leadership role for women in
    Antebellum American society
        Members of Martha Washington Salem Union No. 6
         vowed to abstain from the use and sale of alcohol and
         promote temperance in their communities
        The club governed itself democratically and used
         collective resources to provide a kind of life insurance for
The Rise of "Disinterested Benevolence"
                     Evangelicals strove to prepare the world for the
                      coming Kingdom of God by externalizing religion
                      through the proliferation of disinterested benevolent
                          Formed voluntary organizations dedicated to various
                           causes including temperance, slavery, female morality,
                           missionary work, poverty, and the plight of prisoners and
                           the insane
                     The 1853 article “Dedication of the Five Points’
                      Mission House” demonstrates the link between
                      religion and civil society that was nurtured during the
                      Second Great Awakening
                     "Letter on Prostitution" was written in 1850 by
                      Caroline W.H. Dall following the 1850 Women's Rights
                          Her views and work were more radical
                          Linked women's rights to social reform illustrating the
                           budding notions of gender equality
                     Reformers began to see the feminine role as unique
                      and invaluable to moral purity in the family and society
                      at large
                     In "Memorial to the Massachusetts Legislature,"
                      prominent mental facility reformer Dorothea Dix called
                      attention to the deplorable treatment of the
                      commonwealth's insane
                          Her crusade for humane asylums for the mentally ill
                           coincided with a movement to reform penitentiaries
                          These reform efforts were a broader reflection of the
                           emerging notion that the fallen could be rehabilitated and
   Dorothea Dix            that Christian people ought to take responsibility for
                           alleviating society's ills

       Observations on Religion in Antebellum America

   Alexis de Tocqueville was
    a French political theorist
    who authored Democracy
    in America in the 1830's
    after an extensive tour of
    the United States
   Emphasized the tendency
    of Americans to focus on
    reform in this world
   His observations of
    Americans' unabashed
    religiousity reflects the
    growing perception of the
    American character as
    inherently Christian during
    this time
                                       Alexis de Tocqueville
                            Multimedia Citation

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