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Democratic Ideals Rough Draft - Second Great Awakening

Autor:   •  March 8, 2011  •  Essay  •  703 Words (3 Pages)  •  1,433 Views

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The era of the Jacksonian Democracy left new and different views in American Society. The Second Great Awakening spawned a tidal wave of spiritual fervor that resulted in reforms in education, crime prevention, women's rights, religion, and public affairs. These sought to expand democratic ideals, as they reflected life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Many of the reformer's views were based on religion. The Second Great Awakening swept through America's churches, transforming the place of religion in American life. A wave of revivals, began on the southern frontier, but soon expanded to the Northeast, sent the Second Great Awakening surging across the land. The movement was one of the most momentous episodes in the history of American religion. It left countless converted souls, shattered and reorganized churches, and numerous sects. It also encouraged innumerable areas of American life – including prison reform, the temperance cause, the women's movement, and the crusade to abolish slavery. Though many soon backslid into their former sinful ways, the revivals increased church membership and stimulated a variety of humanitarian reforms.

A key feature of the Second Great Awakening was the feminization of religion, which helped give a voice to women's rights. Middle-class women, the wives and daughters of business men, were the first and most enthusiastic. Despite relative advances, women were still the "submerged sex." But as the decades unfolded in the nineteenth century, women increasingly surfaced with an attitude of freedom and self-determination. Many revolted by avoiding marriage altogether and remained spinsters. Gender differences were strongly emphasized in America, largely because of the increasing economy, separating women and men into sharply distinct economic roles. Women were thought to be physically and emotionally weak. For many middle-class women, the reform campaigns provided a unique opportunity to escape the confines of the home and enter the arena of public affairs.

The ever-present drink problem attracted dedicated reformers. From customs, combined with a monotonous life, led to * excessive drinking of hard liquor, even among women, clergymen, and members of congress. Heavy drinking decreased the efficiency of labor, and poorly safeguarded machinery operated under the influence of alchohol increased the danger of accidents occurring

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