Why did the Second Great Awakening inspire reform movements?
The Second Great Awakening was a religious revival movement in the first half of the 19th century. It emphasized emotion and enthusiasm, but also democracy: new religious denominations emerged that restructured churches to allow for more people involved in leadership, an emphasis on man's equality before god, and personal relationships with Christ (meaning less authority on the part of a minister or priest). There was also a belief that the Second Coming was imminent, and society must be improved before that time. Women were heavily involved in the 2nd Great Awakening movement, converting in large movements and taking on leadership roles in service committees and reform work.
Students and teachers might use this collection as a topical resource to explore: Why and how did the Second Great Awakening inspired a range of antebellum reform movements?
Other questions that might support this inquiry include:
- How are concepts of democracy and equality important to both the Second Great Awakening and the rise of reform movements?
- Why do you think women were often leaders in antebellum reform movements?
- More Americans were moving westward during this period. How do you think that impacted the religious revival movement?
- Can you hypothesize a connection between the increase in utopian societies during this time and the growing reform and religious movements?
Tags: abolition, temperance, women's rights, women's suffrage, second coming, antebellum reform, asylum and prison reform, education, 2GARead More »