Developing American Identity 1820-1880 (Utopian Society (Shakers (These…
Developing American Identity 1820-1880
Reformers considered alcohol to be the cause of all social evils, and it became an incredibly popular movement.
Protestant ministers (among others) formed the American Temperance Society, in which they persuaded drinkers to take a pledge of total abstinence. The Washingtonians was a group formed by recovering alcoholics who believed it was a disease that needed treatment.
Immigrants typically didn't agree with the movement, however, they did not have enough political sway to affect it. Factory owners and politicians supported it as it could improve society. Maine was the first state to prohibit the production and sale of liquors, and twelve states followed. Slavery overtook it as an issue of more importance, but it eventually came back and became nationally successful.
Cult of Domesticity
As men begin working outside the home, women became the primary caretakers of children and took charge of the household. As such, they were idealized as moral leaders in the home and restricted mostly to the domestic circle.
Women reformers began resenting the fact that men tended to push them to the sides and relegate them to secondary roles in the abolition movement. They were not allowed to take part in policy discussions or speak at conventions, causing them to rise up in opposition to these restrictions.
Seneca Falls Convention (1848)
Leading feminists met at this convention, the first one for women's rights in American history. They created a Declaration of Sentiments, much like the Declaration of Independence, listing their grievances against discrimination. This movement was led by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony.
Free Common Schools
This movement was led by Horace Mann. He worked for compulsory attendance of children, a longer school year, and increased teacher preparation. This movement spread rapidly in the 1840's.
William Holmes McGuffey created elementary textbooks that were used to teach reading and morality. He emphasized hard work, punctuality, and sobriety.
Private colleges began to grow rapidly. Protestant denominations formed small denominational colleges in the new western states. Several colleges began to admit women. Lyceum lecture societies brought speakers to small-town audiences.
American Colonialization Society
An attempt to transport freed slaves to an African colony was carried out in 1817. However, it was not very successful and never gained much traction. One such colony was established in Monrovia, Liberia. From 1820-1860, only about 12,000 African Americans were settled in Africa.
American Antislavery Society
William Lloyd Garrison began a newspaper called
in 1831, advocating the immediate abolition of slavery throughout America. He and others founded this society in 1833. He even condemned the Constitution as proslavery and was a passionate advocate for abolition.
The abolitionist movement split. One group in the north believed that a political solution was more practical than a moral one, this party was formed in 1840 and ran James Birney as their candidate for president in 1840 and 1844. Their pledge was to legally and politically abolish slavery.
Escaped slaves and free African Americans were outspoken critics of slavery, as they had firsthand experience of the brutality of the practice. Frederick Douglass was a leading abolitionist who started the antislavery journal
The North Star
in 1847. Harriet Tubman, David Ruggles, Sojourner Truth, and William Still helped slaves escape and were leaders in the abolition movement as well.
David Walker and Henry Highland Garnet, two northern African Americans, believed that slaves should rise up in revolt against their owners. One such revolt had occurred, led by Nat Turner, in which 55 whites were killed. In retaliation, hundreds of African Americans were killed and antislavery talk in the south was put down immediately.
These died out by the mid-1900's, but their idea was to keep women and men strictly separate, forbidding marriage and sex. They also held property in common.
The Amana Colonies
These were Germans who settled in Iowa. They belonged to a religious movement called Pietism. They also encouraged simple, communal living and they allowed marriage. Their communities still exist but they no longer live in a communal way.
This was a secular movement in Indiana catalyzed by Robert Owen. He hoped for an answer to the problems of inequity and alienation, but his experiment failed because of monetary problems and disagreements.
Started by John Humphrey Noyes in 1848 in New York, this cooperative community aspired for perfect socioeconomic equality and the sharing of property and marriage partners. Children were communally raised, and this system was criticized but it still flourished because of their sale of silverware.
Charles Fourier, a French socialist, advocated that people share work and housing in communities. However, this died out quickly.
This was a Transcendentalist community, where a lot of the leading intellectuals resided at times. This experiment ended due to debt and a large fire, however, it was still respected.
Second Great Awakening
Charles G. Finney started a series of revivals in upstate New York. He appealed to people's emotions instead of their reasoning, encouraging people to publicly declare their revived faith. His preaching appealed to the middle class because he claimed that every individual could be saved through faith and hard work.
Baptists and Methodists
Preachers would travel and give loud, dramatic sermons at outdoor revivals or camp meetings. Many who were not church-goers became faithful. This eventually became the largest Protestant denomination in the country.
William Miller, a preacher, predicted that on October 21, 1844, the second coming of Jesus would occur. Nothing happened then, but the Millerites became the Seventh-Day Adventists and continued as a denomination of Christianity.
This was founded by Joseph Smith in 1830. He based his religious thinking on the Book of Mormon. He was murdered in Illinois, but the rest of the Mormons went to the West, where they established the New Zion next to the Great Salt Lake. The government disapproved of their practice of polygamy, however.