Developing American Identity 1820-1880 (Religion/Utopian Society…
Developing American Identity 1820-1880
During the Jacksonian era, the need for establishing free public schools for children of all classes increased. Middle class reformers were motivated in part by their fear for the future of the country posed by growing numbers of the uneducated poor.
Horace Mann was the leading advocate of the common school movement. He wanted the compulsory attendance for all children, a longer school year, and increased teacher preparation.
William McGuffey created a series of textbooks that became used to teach reading and morality because educational reformers wanted children to learn not only basic literacy but also moral principles. Extolled virtues of hard work, punctuality, and sobriety. Roman Catholics founded private schools for the instruction of Catholic children because public schools had a Protestant tone.
The religious enthusiasm of the Second Great Awakening helped fuel the growth of private colleges. Protestant denominations founded small denominational colleges. Adult education was furthered by lecture societies which brought speakers to small town audiences.
The temperance movement began by using mora exhortation. In 1826, Protestant ministers who were concerned with drinking founded the American Temperance Society which tried to persuade drinkers to take a pledge of total abstinence. By 1840's various temperance societies together had more than a million members
German and Irish immigrants were largely opposed to the temperance campaign but lacked the political power to prevent state and city governments from passing reforms. Maine placed taxes on the sale of liquor and became the first state to prohibit the manufacturing and sale of intoxicating liquors.
The demand for prohibition led to more regulations of alcohol and the overall per capita consumption decreased.
Religious revivals were a reaction against the rationalism (belief in human reason) that had been the fashion during the Enlightenment and the American Revolution.
The Second Great Awakening began among educated people such as Reverend Timothy Dwight and he motivated a generation of young men to become evangelical preachers.
Charles G. Finney started a series of revivals in New York and appealed to people's emotions and fear of damnation. He preached that every individual could be saved through faith and hard work which appealed to the middle class. Western New York became known as the "burned over district" for its frequent "hell and brimstone" revivals.
Baptist and Methodist preachers would travel from one location to another and attract thousands to hear preaching or camp meetings. The preachers activated the faith of people who never belonged to a church. By 1850, the Baptists and Methodists were the largest Protestant denominations in the country.
Mormons was founded by Joseph Smith and he based his religious thinking on the Book of Mormons. After Smith was murdered Brigham Young became the leader and established their religious community in Utah.
The Second Great Awakening caused new divisions in society between the newer, evangelical sects and the older Protestant churches.
The conclusion of the Seneca Falls Convention issued a document closely modeled after the Declaration of Independence which declared that all men and women are created equal and listed women's grievances against laws and customs that discriminated against them.
Women reformers resented the way men relegated them to secondary roles in the movement and prevented them from taking part fully in policy discussions. Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton began campaigning for women rights after they had been barred from speaking in an antislavery convention.
During Industrialization when men took jobs outside the home to work for salaries or wages in an office or factory they were absent most of the time. As a result the women in these households who remained at home took charge of the household and children. The idealized view of women as moral leaders in the home is called cult of domesticity.
The American Colonization Society had the idea of transporting freed slaves to an African society which appealed to moderate antislavery reformers and politicians. The American Antislavery Society was founded by Garrison and he stepped up his attacks by condemning and burning the Constitution as a proslavery document.
The Liberty Party was formed by a group of northerners because they believed that political action was a more practical route to perform than Garrison's moral crusade. Garrison's radicalism soon led to a split in the abolitionist movement.
Fredrick Douglass spoke about the brutality and degradation of slavery from firsthand experience and later advocated both political and direct action to end slavery and racial prejudice. Douglass and other African American leaders such as Harriet Tubman and others helped organize the effort to assist fugitive slaves escape to free territory where slavery was prohibited.