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Terms in this set (50)

Shakers-a radical offshoot of the Quakers that had begun in a working-class neighborhood of Manchester, England. Eventually, Ann Lee (1736-1784) emerged as leader of a group of Shakers who left England for America and settled in New York and other areas in the Northeast. Lee received visions from Jesus regarding sex. She claimed these visions revealed that lust and sexual intercourse were at the roots of human sin, so sex was not practiced by the American Shakers. The group focused on Christ's return and believed the end of the world was imminent, so there was no need to have children, allowing for members to remain abstinent. Nineteenth-century followers of the Shaker faith believed Jesus was the male form of Christ while Lee was the female form. They wanted to reform the world with an emphasis on simplicity. In America, Shaker communities emphasized a communal living system with no private property, pacifism, and separation from the evil world. A number of these communities survived for decades in the burned-over district

Millerites- Founded in 1833 by William Miller, a farmer and Baptist layman from upstate New York, the Millerites used biblical prophecy (especially the book of Daniel) to predict Christ's Second Coming. Through a series of numerical manipulations, Miller set a date for the end of the world—October 22, 1843. When that date passed, he reset the date to occur sometime between March 21, 1843, and March 21, 1844. When March 21, 1844, passed without the Second Coming, the day became known as "The Great Disappointment." Many people grew disillusioned with the movement and either returned to their own churches or abandoned religion altogether. However, the Seventh-Day Adventist church and other Adventist groups evolved from this movement. These religious groups believed that the Second Coming had occurred in the heavenly realm rather than on Earth.

Oneida community- another religious group with apocalyptic beliefs in the nineteenth-century burned-over district. Founded in 1848 by John Humphrey Noyes in Oneida, New York, the community emphasized perfectionism and a communal living arrangement. The community believed Jesus Christ had already returned (in the year 70 AD), which made it possible for them to bring about Christ's millennial kingdom themselves and be free of sin and perfect in this world, not just later in Heaven. The community survived for about four decades by developing a successful economic relationship with the surrounding community. Oneida built animal traps, produced goods for the army during the Civil War, and eventually became famous for Oneida silverware.
The antebellum period occurred from the period of time before the Civil War and after the War of 1812. During this time, America was expanding in a multitude of ways and many reforms were occurring that would forever change the nation. People in society desired to fix the ills of the period and move towards a gradual change. These religious movements and reforms influenced the nation as Americans strived for religious freedoms, gender equality, an end to slavery, and an overall prosperous nation. Through the use of strong leaders, openness to new ideas, and longing for a transformed society, American people were able to create new religious movements and reforms that shape it into the nation it is today.
One of the first major religious transformations began in the 1820's, as there was a great shift from Calvinism to Arminianism. Calvinism was a belief that God had pre-selected people who would receive salvation. Arminianism on the other hand focused on the idea that humans have free will and a choice on whether or not to accept their salvation. This new idea was accompanied by the growth of Methodism during the Second Great Awakening. John Wesley, one of the leaders of Methodism, also came up with the concept of "perfectionism". This idea believed that people could become morally perfect, therefore creating a perfect society. This led to an increase in the number of people who believed in the post millennium, which states that the world gets better and better until Christ returns. These popular beliefs spurred a number of reforms in the 19th century that were able to spread with ease as the Erie Canal connected western New York to the East Coast. Before long, America was experiencing religious revivals in upstate New York and other New England areas.
Charles Finney became one of the most well known religious leaders as he began a series of religious meetings in upstate New York in 1825. He was a Presbyterian minister who focused his works on the middle and working classes as they experienced the greatest disruption from changes that took places during the market revolution. He encouraged less alcohol consumption, greater church attendance, individual achievement, and self-discipline. As Finney's popularity increased amongst businessmen, he began incorporating women as prayer leaders and encouraged blacks and whites to worship together. He refused communion to slaveholders and even started a new technique called the "anxious bench", which was an area for people considering converting to come and sit. His radical ideas eventually led him to become a powerful leader in later abolition movements.
Around this same time, Lyman Beecher joined other ministers in what is known as the Sabbatarianism Movement. This movement desired society to keep Sunday a Holy Day. Beecher and his fellow ministers worked to create the General Union for Promoting the Observance of the Christian Sabbath in 1828. They were successful in ending most business hours on Sunday, however the movement lost followers as it called for a closing of bars on Sundays as well. Many people were angry with this and voted to end this movement.
The Shakers represented another religious sect that stemmed from the Quaker group and led to radical changes in upstate New York. The movement began in the 1700's as leader, Ann Lee, left England and settled in Northeast America to practice her religious beliefs. Lee claimed to receive visions from Jesus Christ himself regarding the practice of sex. These visions asserted that lust and sexual intercourse were the roots of human sin and evil on this earth. This idea encouraged abstinence for members of this religious group. Therefore, there was little need to have children and the people focused on Christ's return. They believed that Jesus was the male form of Christ while Lee was the female form and looked to her for guidance. The Shaker community emphasized simplicity and a communal living system with little to no privacy. William Miller founded the other religious sect that formed in upstate New York in 1833. His followers called themselves the Millerites and used biblical prophecy to predict Christ's second coming. Once Millers many predictions for the end of the world failed, many of his followers lost interest and abandoned the religious sect altogether.
John Humphrey Noyes in Oneida, New York founded one of the most successful religious movements in 1848. This religious group became known as Oneida community and they believed that Jesus had already returned, making it possible for them to bring about Christ's millennial themselves. They believed they were free of sin and were perfect in this world. The Oneida movement was successful for four decades and developed a successful economic relationship with the surrounding community. It developed a concept of complex marriage with the idea that sex is a form of worship; therefore people should have sex as often as possible. While this idea of having sex often was popular, the community also believed that the millennium was near and they did not want to produce children who would become a burden to the female community. This resulted in the practice of "male continence" which meant sex without a male orgasm. As the community saw a need for new members, the act of child bearing became more and more prominent.
Along with these major religious movements came reform movements as well. Temperance became the largest and most pervasive movement during the 19th century. The goals of temperance included the encouragement for Americans to drink less or practice total abstinence. It evolved as Americans consumed about 5 gallons of alcohol per person per year, which exceeded any amount of previous years. These efforts were directed toward the working class as they consumed the most liquor typically after a long day of work. Lyman Beecher became one of the founders of the American Temperance Union. This group aimed to prevent abuse of women and children from drunken men as they arrive home at night. These efforts brought about a need for change and sparked many others to step up and see the need for new reforms.
The next major reform includes the Abolition Movement that began before 1830 with the intentions of gradually ending slavery. In 1816, northern workers formed the American Colonization Society. It focused on ending slavery for good in the United States and the deportation of freed slaves back to Africa. In the 1830's the Abolition Movement became more radical. Leader William Lloyd Garrison fought for immediate emancipation and began publishing an abolitionist newspaper called "The Liberator" in 1831. He argued for civil equality as well as emancipation and believed in the principle of "Christian Anarchism". He believed Christians should not participate in the government, but still fight for social reforms in society. Other abolitionists of the time included Lewis Tappan, Theodore Weld, Frederick Douglass, Charles Finney, and Sojourner Truth. As this movement began to press forward, it created defensiveness among the pro slavery members of the south, which would lead to problems in years to come.
The Abolition Movement spurred the Women's Rights movement in the 19th century. After women were denied access at the antislavery convention in England, women grouped together to fight for their individual rights. Sarah Grimke and her sister Angelina Grimke Weld became major women's rights activists. They joined the Quaker faith due to its wide inclusion of women in religious leadership. In July of 1848, the Seneca Falls Convention was held in upstate New York. This convention called for rights of women to their own property, the right for women to have custody over their children after a divorce, the right to receive higher education, full participation in religious activities, and the right to vote. While many of these liberties took many years to achieve, the Seneca Falls Convention helped to redefine the Cult of Domesticity as it led to a movement of more activities outside the home for women.
The years before the civil war marked a period of immense change for the United States of America. Through the multiple religious movements and extreme social reforms, America became a nation known for its enlightened ideas and efforts towards a better land. These interests in the improvement and restructuring of the nation led to the beginning of public education, the work toward care for criminals, the building of mental institutions, efforts toward overall morality, and even the creation of labor unions. Participation in these social movements encouraged Americans to view themselves in a different way. African Americans became powerful in antislavery movements, and women worked to create a voice of their own. The 19th century reform activists developed cultural and institutional foundations for social change that have created a more virtuous and moral nation.