Developing American Identity 1820-1880 (Women (Activists began to question…
Developing American Identity 1820-1880
Activists began to question women's subservience to men and called for rallying around the abolitionist movement as a way of calling attention to all human rights.
About 100 people attended the Seneca Falls convention; two-thirds were women. Stanton drafted a “Declaration of Sentiments, Grievances, and Resolutions” that echoed the preamble of the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men and women are created equal.” Among the 13 resolutions set forth in Stanton’s “Declaration” was the goal of achieving the “sacred right of franchise.”
In 1848, the first Women’s Rights convention (The Seneca Falls Convention) was held, in Seneca Falls, N.Y. Outside of the Society of Friends (“Quakers”), women were often denied the opportunity to speak at abolitionist meetings.
Initially, women reformers addressed social and institutional barriers that limited women’s rights, including family responsibilities, a lack of educational and economic opportunities, and the absence of a voice in political debates.
By the 1830s and 40s, the climate began to change when a number of bold, outspoken women championed diverse social reforms of prostitution, capital punishment, prisons, war, alcohol, and, most significantly, slavery.
The movement spread rapidly under the influence of the churches; by 1833 there were 6,000 local societies in several U.S. states.
The movement's ranks were mostly filled by women who, with their children, had endured the effects of unbridled drinking by many of their menfolk. In fact, alcohol was blamed for many of society's demerits, among them severe health problems, destitution and crime. At first, they used moral suasion to address the problem.
The first statewide success for the temperance movement was in Maine, which passed a law on June 2, 1851, which served as model for other states
Temperance movement, movement dedicated to promoting moderation and, more often, complete abstinence in the use of intoxicating liquor.
The American Civil War (1861-1865) weakened the temperance movement, but concerns regarding alcohol usage quickly returned upon the war's conclusion.
The abolitionist movement was the social and political effort to end slavery everywhere.
Although black and white abolitionists often worked together, by the 1840s they differed in philosophy and method. While many white abolitionists focused only on slavery, black Americans tended to couple anti-slavery activities with demands for racial equality and justice.
Abolitionists exercised a particularly strong influence on religious life, contributing heavily to schisms that separated the Methodists (1844) and Baptists (1845), while founding numerous independent antislavery “free churches.”
Abolitionist leaders included such figures as William Lloyd Garrison, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman and William Lloyd Still.
From the 1830s until 1870, the abolitionist movement attempted to achieve immediate emancipation of all slaves and the ending of racial segregation and discrimination.
Religion/ Utopian Movement
The supporters of the Awakening and its evangelical thrust--Presbyterians, Baptists and Methodists--became the largest American Protestant denominations by the first decades of the nineteenth century.
At the start of the Revolution the largest denominations were Congregationalists (the 18th-century descendants of Puritan churches), Anglicans (known after the Revolution as Episcopalians), and Quakers. But by 1800, Evangelical Methodism and Baptists, were becoming the fasting-growing religions in the nation.
By stressing the moral imperative to end sinful practices and each person’s responsibility to uphold God’s will in society, what came to be called the Second Great Awakening led massive religious revivals in the 1820s that gave a major impetus to the later emergence of abolitionism as well as to such other reforming crusades as temperance, pacifism, and women’s rights.
The Second Great Awakening is best known for its large Camp Meetings that led extraordinary numbers of people to convert through an enthusiastic style of preaching and audience participation.
In America, the Second Great Awakening signaled the advent of an encompassing evangelicalism--the belief that the essence of religious experience was the "new birth," inspired by the preaching of the Word.
Education reform, championed by Horace Mann, helped to bring about state-sponsored public education, including a statewide curriculum and a local property tax to finance public education.
Mann promoted locally controlled, often one-room “common schools” in which children of all ages and classes were taught together; later he introduced the age-grading system.
The public education system was less organized in the South. Public schools were rare, and most education took place in the home with the family acting as instructors. The wealthier planter families were able to bring in tutors for instruction in the classics, but many yeoman farming families had little access to education outside of the family unit.
Education in the United States had long been a local affair, with schools governed by locally elected school boards. Public education was common in New England, although it was often class-based with the working class receiving few benefits. Instruction and curriculum were all locally determined, and teachers were expected to meet rigorous demands of strict moral behavior. Schools taught religious values and applied Calvinist philosophies of discipline, which included corporal punishment and public humiliation.
Each state used federal funding from the Morrill Land-Grant Colleges Acts of 1862 and 1890 to set up “land grant colleges” that specialized in agriculture and engineering.