What factors inspired some antebellum women to join the abolitionist crusade?

Expert Answers
mrkirschner eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There were a number of reform movements that sprung up after the War of 1812. Most of these movements were tightly connected, with the same players. The reforms were aimed at the abolition of slavery, temperance, and women's suffrage to name just a few. A number of factors contributed to the rise of antebellum women in the abolitionist crusade. Probably the most important factor was religion. During the Second Great Awakening, there was a significant spike in membership in the Evangelical Protestant churches. Slavery was seen as immoral by these groups and a target of intense scrutiny in these churches. Abolition of slavery became an important religious crusade for many women.

There were also economic factors in the rise of reform. With an improving industrial economy, a larger middle class emerged. This allowed for more people to be involved in reform movements because they had more free time. Some people even took up reform as a career choice and pursued abolition and women's rights crusades as a job. Improvements in transportation and communication also made it easier to connect with people from other cities and organize reform. Urbanization also brought larger groups of people closer and made it easier to organize.