What motivated new groups to come to America in the early 19th century and how did the Second Great Awakening affect American society?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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On eNotes, we request that you ask only one question per post.  As these two questions are really not closely related to one another, I will answer the second.

The Second Great Awakening affected American society in three main ways.  First, it affected individuals by bringing about a great increase in religious fervor.  The Second Great Awakening appealed to people to form a closer bond with God.  It convinced many people to become much more religious, thus affecting their lives.  Second, it inspired people to create new religions and utopian societies.  The most important of these new religions today is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons).  They were founded in upstate New York (part of the “Burned-Over District” where the Awakening had been particularly strong).  Finally, it inspired a number of reform movements, some of which came to have a great impact on American society.  The Awakening encouraged people to think that they could improve themselves and their society.  This led to the creation of movements for temperance, better treatment for prisoners, the insane, the blind, and the deaf, women’s rights, and abolition.  These reform movements were one of the most important aspects of American society in the years between the Second Great Awakening and the Civil War.

In these ways, the Second Great Awakening had a major impact on the society of the United States.

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