How was the American reform movement influenced by religious beliefs?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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There have been many American reform movements that have been influenced by religious beliefs. Since you have tagged this with "1800s", I assume that you are talking about the reforms of the 1830s and 1840s.

The set of reforms that occurred in the 1830s and 1840s stemmed from (historians argue) the Second Great Awakening of religious fervor that was especially strong in the 1810s and 1820s.  The Second Great Awakening is said to have encouraged people to believe that their society could and should be perfected.  This led to such reform efforts as the push for abolition and the temperance movement.

The Second Great Awakening led to the idea that people could and should perfect themselves.  This led quite naturally to the idea that they should also perfect their society.  These ideas were instrumental in causing the reforms of the 1830s and 1840s.

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