Reform impulse in pre-Civil War eraReligious revivalism in the early nineteenth century emphasized the need for reforming society in numerous ways. Discuss reform movements that arose during this...

Reform impulse in pre-Civil War era

Religious revivalism in the early nineteenth century emphasized the need for reforming society in numerous ways. Discuss reform movements that arose during this period.


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dbello eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The first half of the 19th century in the U.S. produced a series of reform movements. These movements were motivated by the new ideas concerning religion, education, and societal values. The Second Great Awakening was a religious movement which challenged the Calvinist belief of predestination. The idea that ones' destiny to heaven or hell was 'predestined' at birth was replaced by the idea that men and women had control over their destinies. Each individual had the power within themself to choose to do good and not commit sin. The educational reforms led by Horace Mann suggested that education should not be just for the wealthy. Education should be funded by the government, inclusive to all, have grade standardization, and trained teachers. The American Temperance
Society saw alcohol as the root to many of society's problems and sought to prohibit consumption. In addition, prior to the Civil War the American Colonization Society strived to emancipate slaves and return them to Africa. It was from this effort that the abolitionist movement grew and became a reform force to be reckoned with, ultimately resulting in the 13th Amendment.

rrteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The abolitionist movement had a direct relationship with religious revivalism, but many other reform movements rose out of the Second Great Awakening. The temperance and suffrage movements both emerged during this period, as did prison and asylum reform. The move for public education as well as various urban reform efforts also arose during this time. It was during this period that utopian experiments like Robert Owen's New Harmony and the more radical Oneida Settlement briefly flourished, along with dozens of other settlements inspired by French socialist Charles Fourier. The period also saw the formation of religious sects who aimed to reform Christianity or set out on their own. These included the Mormons.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Please tell us more about what aspect of this you want discussed.

One thing that is of note is that many of the reform movements were dominated by women from the growing middle class.  These women were often motivated by religion because the Second Great Awakening had emphasized the idea that people should work to perfect the societies in which they lived.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Are you asking about religious reform or societal reform?  In the early nineteenth century, there were reforms centered on women's rights and ending slavery.  Part of the events that led to the Civil War involved increased abolitionist activity.  Some people began to look at slavery as morally wrong.

letlive | Student

I'm asking about both religious reforms and societal reforms.