Do you think that the reform movements would have taken place if there had been no Second Great Awakening?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In my opinion, there probably still would have been.  The Second Great Awakening was a major factor in causing the movements to come to exist, but it wasn't the only one.

The Second Great Awakening did help to inspire the reform movements because it emphasized the idea that human beings and human societies could be perfected.  It inspired people to actually go out and try to fix their society rather than just accept it.

However, I would argue that the problems and changes going on in the society at the time would have inspired people to try to improve things anyway.  The changes being brought about by the market revolution led to an intense desire among some people to fix society.  They felt that society was moving forward and becoming more modern and that this meant that it could also be improved in other ways.

In other words, I would argue that religion was not the only thing that was making Americans think they could and should improve their society.  Therefore, I think the reform movements would have happened even without the Second Great Awakening.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team