Chapter 8 Section 1

Chapter 8
Section 1
The Second Great
One American's story
• Charles Grandison Finney was a preacher who
converted at the age of 29. Finney traveled by
horseback to deliver his message. When he preached
his listeners moaned, shrieked and fainted.
• The convert’s duty was to spread the word about
personal salvation to others. This religious activism was
part of an overall era of reform that started in the 1830’s.
• Reforms of the period included women’s rights, school
reform, land abolition.
• All these movements emerged as responses to rapid
changes in American society like industrialization.
The second great
The impulse towards reform was caused by the Second Great
Awakening. Which was the revivals of the broad religious that swept
the US in 1790.
Finney and other preachers rejected the 18th- century belief of predestination. Instead they emphasized individual responsibility for
seeking salvation.
These preachers insisted that people could improve themselves and
Religious ideas of the 19th century promoted individualism similar to the
emphasis of Jacksonian democracy on the power of the common
Churches split over these new ideas, forming various denominations
which then competed to convey the message of a democratic God
who extends the possibility of salvation to all people.
Preachers at this time could sometimes draw audiences of 20,000 or
more at outdoor camps.
A revival is classified as, an emotional meeting designed to
awaken religious faith through impassioned preaching and prayer.
A revival could last for 4 or 5 days, during the day participants
studied the Bible and examined their souls. At night they heard
emotional preaching that could make them cry out, or burst into
tears, or tremble with fear.
Revivalism swept across the US in the 19th century. Some of the
most intense revivals took place in a part of western NY known as
the burned over district because religious fires frequently burned
Charles Finney led these revivals and held many in Rochester, NY.
The Rochester revivals earned Finney the reputation of “the father
of modern revivalism.”
In 1800 1 in 15 Americans belonged to a Church, but by 1850 1 in 6
was a member.
The African-American church
The Second Great Awakening also brought Christianity on a large
scale to enslaved African Americans.
There was a strong democratic impulse in the new churches that
all people black or white belonged to the same God.
This belief created the new Methodist and Baptist churches which
were open to both blacks and whites.
This limited equality was interpreted as a promise for freedom by
the enslaved African Americans.
In the East many free African Americans worshipped in separate
black churches. Like Richard Allen’s Bethel African Church in
Which by 1816 would become the African Methodist Episcopal
The African American church
Membership in the AME Church grew rapidly. It became a
political, cultural, and social center for African Americans. It
provided schools and other services that whites denied them.
Eventually the African American Church developed a political
voice and organized the first black national convention in
Philadelphia in September of 1830.
Richard Allen convened the meeting in which the possible
settlement of free African Americans and fugitive slaves in
Canada was discussed.
Allen’s convention was the first of what would become an annual
convention of free blacks in the North.
The African American Church gave its members a deep inner
faith, a strong sense of community and the spiritual oppose to
The second great
Section 2
Transcendentalism and Reforms
 By the Mid 1800s, some Americans were taking pride in their
new culture
 Ralph Waldo Emerson, a New England Writer, nurtured this pride
by leading a group that practiced transcendentalism
 Transcendentalism-philosophical and literary movement that
emphasized living a simple life and celebrated truth found in nature
and in personal emotion and imagination
 Transcendentalists spawned a literary movement that stressed
optimism, freedom and self-reliance
 Henry David Thoreau, a friend of Emerson, put self-reliance into
 Thoreau lived alone for 2 years and wrote Walden, where he
advises readers to follow their inner voices
 Thoreau urged people to not obey unjust laws and to peacefully do
so by practicing civil disobediance
 Unitarians emphasized reason and appeals to
conscience as the paths to perfection
 Believed conversion to Christianity was a gradual
process and that it was “the perfection of human
nature, the elevation of men into nobler beings”
 Agreed with thought that individual and social reform
were both possible and important
Literature of Transcendentalists
 Ralph Waldo Emerson
 Poet, Essayist and lecturer from New England
 Developer of transcendentalism
 Emphasized truth in nature, emotion, and imagination
 Margaret Fuller
 Editor of the transcendentalist journal
 Demanded equality and fulfillment for women
 Henry David Thoreau
 Believed people should act based on own views of right and
 Wrote Walden, where he urged people to reject greed and
materialism in their lives
Section 3
Americans Form Ideal
Utopian communities emerged from
religious and social reforms, which aimed to
become self-sufficient and “perfect” places
to live.
• New Harmony,
Indiana and Brook
Massachusetts near
Boston were some
of the best known
• Brook Farm, established in 1841 by George
Ripley, wanted it to create a society of
people who could live in harmony amongst
the outside pressures. Unfortunately, a fire
destroyed their town hall and the
community dissolved.
• Usually the utopias
only lasted a few
Shaker Communities
 Shakers believed in gender equality and sharing
goods with each other, and refused to fight.
 They set up communities in New England and the
 Shakers did not have children, so they relied on
adoption and converting to continue their
Section 4
Schools and Prisons Undergo
Thousands of Americans united to fight various social
illnesses throughout the nation in the mid-19th century.
Reforming Asylums and Prisons
 In 1831 French writer Alexis de Tocqueville observed US society
claimed to have extended liberty, but prisons demonstrated the
 Dorothea Dix joined social reform movement
 Horrified that mentally ill were housed with prisoners in MA
 1843 Dix sent a report of her observations to the MA legislature
 Passed a law intended to improve conditions
 1845-1852 nine Southern states persuaded to build public
hospitals for mentally ill
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Improving Education
 No standardized educational policy in US
 Classrooms not divided by grade
 Few children continued school beyond age of ten
 1830s Americans demanded tax-supported public
 1837 Horace Mann became first secretary of MA
Board of Education
 Established teacher-training programs
 Introduced curriculum reforms
 Doubled money MA spent on schools
 By 1850s every state had some form of publicly
funded elementary schools
 Took years before public schools were established
in far West and Southern states
Political cartoon about
free public schooling

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