Second Great Awakening was an experiential religion, personal heartfelt religion, one of outward emotion, virtue, and self-control. Reform movements that come out of the second Great Awakening are what marks the second Great Awakening as special. They preached against prostitution, slavery, and wrongful treatment of the mentally ill with the help of the community women.
New Denominations spring up during this time. The Methodist, the Baptist, the Presbyterian were already here but this spurs more new denominations or religious groups and people like Peter Cartwright, God’s plowman. “Never retreat until you know you can advance no further” well how do you do that if you keep trying, you go around it. He pointed General Jackson and told him that “he was going to hell if he doesn’t repent” then people told him that he could not say that to Gen. Jackson. Gen. Jackson said, “Leave him alone. I want preachers that fear no one and love everyone” He was a backwoods preacher. He used extemporaneous preaching. He did not leave behind any notes, no written out sermons. However, he was very influential especially in frontier areas.
Second Great Awakening Preacher and Evangelist Charles G. Finney, was the father of modern revivalism. Rochester revivals produced great fruit in NY area. He introduced the alter call; he instituted the anxious bench where people would sit on the front where he could stare at them. There was a criticism of him they said he placed too much emphasis on the human ability and salvation. Lyman Beecher: a Presbyterian preached the Hamilton-Burr duel sermon. “A Remedy for Dueling” He opposes the new measures but comes to support them. He had 13 children six were prominent: Henry Ward Beecher, Harriot Beecher Stowe, Katherine Beecher (a reformer in education).
A problem with Beecher’s viewpoint and ideas about religion was “Theoretical perfectibility” “Man is sinful but can be perfected through a moderate and morale lifestyle and an adherence to God’s precepts”. “If you live right you can become perfect” was their mindset.
The Unitarians were on the other side of this Led by William Ellery Channing. They also have an idea about perfectibility. They deny original sin ‘man is not sinful, society makes him
sinful” Unitarians viewpoint is “Man is good, the purpose of Christianity is to make him more perfect and when man is perfect sin will disappear”.
This brings in the Utopian Societies the Transcendentalists, their literature and their communities. During this period, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints springs out Joseph Smiths in Palmyra New York in an angelic visitation 1827 and the Mormon written by 1830. He ran for president in 1844 they believe “gathering of the lost remnant of Israel” he would have won presidency until he introduced doctrine of plural marriage. They were ran out of New York, they move to Ohio, Mississippi, Illinois, under Brigham Young they settle in Salt Lake City Utah.
Mother Ann Lee founds the Shakers, The Miller rights Miller believed that he knew when Jesus was going to return “The Great Disappointment” people were waiting on their roofs for Jesus to return. Then Allen G. White creates the seventh Day Adventists arise out of all of this if we make our lives right we can usher in the millennial kingdom and life will be wonderful.
The 19-Century Age of Reformed Movements
Rid society of sin and evil so Jesus can come back was the mindset of this period. A widely accepted reform was the Temperance Movement: A Middleclass Reform: Alcoholism, obtaining seven gallons of alcohol were consumed by the average American. Alcohol was a table beverage, cheaper than milk, safer than water.
One Evangelist said, “A house could not be raised, a field of wheat could not be cut down, nor could there be a log rolling, a husking, a quilting, a wedding or a funeral without the aid of alcohol” They felt uncontrolled alcohol use threatened the family. Men would go out and spend their wages on alcohol then come home and abuse their wives and children and leave their families destitute.
In 1826, Lyman Beecher founded American Temperance Society. The goal is curb the use of ardent spirits. Members could not agree on beer and wine so they did not focus on that. They send out lecturers on temperance and print vast quantities of anti-consumption literature.
They sponsor essay contests to see who can give the best temperance essays. They hold revival meetings asking attendees to sign a pledge to abstain from alcohol.
In 1834, there were five thousand branches with more than 1 million members. They brought the alcohol consumption down to about 2 gallons per year per person. Today it is about 2.6 gallons a year on average. Horace Man and Catherine Beecher were involved in the education reform. Man saw the immigration population using child labor during the industrial revolution. He said families could not provide the children what they needed to be morally and intellectually excellent. In addition, he said that it is important to establish public schools for the future of our republic, we need social, and school discipline to teach morality and respect for order and it is going to insure responsible and informed voters as the franchise includes more free white males to suffrage voters.
Educational opportunities for women and girls are other things that are necessary for a good republic to exist. Women need education were best equipped to train the next generation. In addition, instill morality in the next generation. She taught things that were thought to be inappropriate for women such as language. She also opened private schools for women to have higher education opportunities. Catherine Beecher gave women the chance to reach beyond what was previously available to women. The first school she opened was in Hartford Connecticut, and then she opened more in Iowa, Illinois, and Wisconsin.
“The Cult of Domesticity” was when the men left the women at home alone so that they could go to work in the factories. “The Cult of Domesticity” was a middleclass movement where Industrialization changes the roles of men and women leaving the women at home alone. Men are going to the factories to work. Women are not partners anymore they are primary, in private sphere, women are keepers of home, men are in government, women are left at home, women are guardians of virtue, more virtuous then men, men are in public sphere government, politics, business.
They told women they were to keep the men in line with virtue. Women take it outside of the home and they get involved in the Temperance movement. Women would take down names of men who visited places of ill repute and publish their names in the newspapers. In this way, the women helped preachers, pastors, and clergy to combat the social issues of the day.