Being a history major, I thought it would be a great idea to post daily about that subject. What a novel idea!
The Second Great Awakening transpired throughout our sprouting and hurriedly evolving nation. In the comparatively disconnected South, it manifested itself initially in large camp meetings and later in the influential southern evangelical churches, but in the newly connected
North, the effects of the Second Great Awakening left a deeper
It was more than a simple renewal of interest in matters of faith. It
changed the way many Americans thought about spirituality, and thus
forged a large influence upon the way they conducted their daily lives.
Overall, it should be thought of as a duel crusade for universal
Christianity and against sin. The utopia founders fought a more
personal battle against sin, while many emerging organizations actively
fought for conversion and against sin in the entire nation.
As Protestant tradition would have it, the American Bible Society gave away bibles, and that makes perfect sense; to get the word out, you should get “the
word” out, right? Of course, that's precisely how Protestantism successfully
broke away from Catholicism, by passing out bibles translated into
the vernacular, and if the plan was to win over Catholics again, the same strategy would apply. Proliferating religious tracts in the lingua franca goes naturally with it.
To broaden appeal, the movement smoothed out the
unsavory Calvinist doctrine of predestination, eventually sweeping
it away in favor of the belief that individuals had control over their
actions, and that the decision to sin or not was up to each person.
Under the leadership of Charles G. Finney, the Second Great
Awakening moved even further from a stuffy theologically based
interpretation of religion and appealed more to the emotions of
the people. This emotional appeal to a sense of right and wrong
combined with the concept that each person had control of his or
her fate and led directly to the movement's massive effect on the
period's reform movements.
Reformers organized against a very physical evil spirit,
alcohol, or rather, human consumption of it. Distilled whiskey was
cheaper and more prevalent than ever before, and reformers
responded zealously to the new trend.
Just a few years after the formation of the American Temperance Society, use of hard liquor curbed to moderate levels. Moderation wasn't enough for the
extremists within the organization, and the American Temperance Society split.
Prime among the various social movements were the
abolition movement and feminism. These movements
declared that the 'inalienable rights' should be enforced
across the gamut of American society.
William Garrison linked the causes of Women and Slaves in
his splintered anti-slavery society, and influential women
worked tirelessly in both movements.
The Second Great Awakening re-energized the Christians of
America, and motivated them to hasten the second coming of
the messiah, but before the newly awakened could see Jesus,
they had to make sure everybody got a fair chance at
accepting the faith, and that meant everybody. So these
people, christened “reformers,” reached out to the lepers of
their time, untouchables to white society. These reformers
built institutions for the insane and the criminal.
They reformed the prostitute and the destitute, and they
counseled the alcoholic. They circulated pamphlets, and
organized missions. They did all these things, and they even
looked toward the slave.
This great outpouring of love spread into the personal lives
of men and women, and a form of courtly love rooted into the
relationships of middle class couples. A different kind of
division of labor was born, with men in the workforce, and
women stationed in the household. These stationed women
united with others to continue the crusades.
These women joined the American Colonization Society
(founded in 1817), dedicated, depending on one's point of
view, on cautiously moving freed blacks to the West African
land of Liberia, which the society founded in 1821. Into the
Tomorrow, I mean this afternoon, I'll discuss the Greeks and share what the Latin word of the day is. I'm still waiting for notification from the university that I've passed American History. OU really needs to get its crap together! On a developer's note, I've set up a Greatest Journal account to replace the LJ one. You know my account name! One more gripe; my Typekey account isn't working yet. Must fix!