What was the principal impulse behind the reform movement from 1830-60?

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The main impulse behind the reform movement of the antebellum period was a desire to improve and perfect American society.

In the years before the reform movement arose, America went through a "Second Great Awakening" and a rise in technological and scientific know-how.  The increases in science and technology gave Americans the feeling that things could change for the better.  The Second Great Awakening gave a moral reason for change.  It was a religious movement that emphasized people's ability and need to change themselves.  With this religious revival came a greater desire to change and improve the society as a whole.

Thus, the principal impulse behind this movement was a desire to create a more perfect society in the United States.