Explain the connection between the 2nd Great Awakening and the various reform movements of the 19th Century.

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The major connection between these two is that the Second Great Awakening helped to motivate many of the reform movements that arose in the early to mid 1800s. 

These movements were not caused only by the Second Great Awakening.  Instead, they were also caused by changes in the economy.  The economy was moving towards a market system and away from a system of subsistence farming.  This caused social upheaval that helped lead to the reform movements.

However, the Second Great Awakening did also play a major role in bringing these movements about.  One of the major ideas of the Second Great Awakening was that people could perfect themselves.  The Second Great Awakening put forward the idea that people could work to achieve their own salvation.  It also was based on the idea that revivalist preachers could go around spreading the word and thereby help people to improve.  These ideas, transferred to the secular realm, helped to inform the reform movements.

If people could improve themselves, they could also improve their society and make it more perfect.  If preachers could go around encouraging people to change their ways, reformers could preach other kinds of reforms as well.  These ideas led to the creation of many reform movements.  The reformers saw themselves as preachers of sorts who were aiming to spread the word and, thereby, to make their societies more perfect.

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