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Created by Matthew Piccolella

Antebellum Period

the period before the Civil War, diverse group of reformers committed themselves to causes like public schools, treatment of mentally ill, controlling sale of alcohol, equal right to women, abolishing slavery

Sources of Reform

Puritan sense of mission, Enlightenment belief in human goodness and perfectibility, politics of Jacksonian democracy, changing relationships among men and women


belief in human reason, religious idea that had been prominent during Enlightenment and Revolution


teachings of original sin and predestination, had been rejected by more liberal doctrines

Second Great Awakening

began among educated people like Timothy Dwight, changed to center around the audience, easily understood by the uneducated, offered opportunity of salvation for all, caused new divisions in society, affected all sections of the country, only Mass to Ohio did it play a large role

Reverend Timothy Dwight

president of Yale College, led campus revivals that motivated many young men to become evangelical preachers

Charles G. Finney

started a series of revivals in upstate New York, appealed to people's emotions and fear of damnation and persuaded thousands to publicly declare their faith, preached all were free to be saved with hard work and faith

Burned-Over District

western New York, characterized by frequent "hell-and-brimstone" revivals

Baptists and Methodists

preachers would travel from one location to another and attract thousands to hear their dramatic preaching at outdoor revival or camp meetings, converted many unchurched into respectable members

Peter Cartwright

Baptist and Methodist circuit preacher


based on belief that the world was going to end with the second coming of Christ, led to the Seventh-Day Adventists

William Miller

preacher who predicted a specific date (October 21, 1844) when the second coming would occur


Church of Latter-Day Saints, founded by Joseph Smith in 1830, gathered a following and moved to several states, local mob murdered Smith, moved to Great Salt Lake in Utah and established Great Zion, cooperative social organization led them to prosperity

Book of Mormon

traced a connection between the Native Americans and the lost tribes of Israel


allowing a man to have more than one wife


Emerson and Thoreau questioned doctrines of established churches and capitalistic habits of merchant class, argued for mystical and intuitive way of thinking as a means for discovering one's inner self and looking for the essence of God in nature, views challenged materialism, artistic expression was more valuable than pursuit of wealth

Ralph Waldo Emerson

best known transcendentalist, essays expressed individualistic mood of the era, urged Americans not to imitate European culture but to create new American culture, essays argued for self-reliance, independent thinking, primacy of spiritual matters over material ones, became a leading critic of slavery

Henry David Thoreau

close friend of Emerson, conducted a two-year experiment of living by himself in the woods, used observations of nature to discover essential truths about life and the universe, Walden

On Civil Disobedience

Thoreau, established himself as an early advocate of nonviolent protest, refused to pay a tax to support Mexican-American war, would inspire Gandhi and MLK

Brook Farm

George Ripley founded it, communal experiment, "a more natural union between intellectual and manual labor", Emerson, Fuller, Theodore Parker, Hawthorne lived there, bad fire and debts forced the end of the experiment, remembered for its atmosphere of artistic creativity and an innovative school that attracted sons and daughters of New England's elite


earliest religious communal movements, 6000 community members, common property, kept women and men separate, forbade marriage and sexual relations, died out in mid 1900s when they couldn't recruit new members

Amana Settlements

founded in Iowa by German Pietists, dedicated to an ascetic life, allowed for marriage, helped to ensure survival of their communities

New Harmony

secular experiment was work of Robert Owen, hoped his utopian socialist community would provide an answer to problems of inequity and alienation caused by Industrial Revolution, experiment failed as a result of disagreements and financial problems

George Ripley

Brook Farm founder

Robert Owen

New Harmony founder

Oneida Community

John Humphrey Noyes 1848 started a cooperative community, dedicated to idea of perfect social and economic equality, members of community shared property, later shared marriage partners, critics attacked planned reproduction and communal child-rearing, managed to prosper economically by producing excellent silverware

John Humphrey Noyes

founded of Oneida Community

Fourier Phalanxes

1840s many Americans became interested in his ideas, people should share work and living arrangements in these, movement died out quickly

Charles Fourier

French socialist who advocated sharing work and living arrangements

Genre Painting

portraying the everyday life of ordinary people

George Caleb Bingham

depicted the common people in various settings: riverboats, voting, carrying out chores

William S. Mount

won fame for his lively rural compositions

Thomas Cole and Frederick Church

emphasized heroic beauty of American landscapes, especially dramatic scenes along the Hudson River

Hudson River School

school that expressed the romantic age's fascination with the natural world


Americans adapted classical Greek styles during Jacksonian era to glorify the democratic spirit of the republic, columned facades graced entryways


many writers along with Transcendentalists helped to create a distinctly American type, became more nationalistic and eager to reader works of American writers about American themes

James Fenimore Cooper

Leatherstocking Tales included "Last of the Mohicans", "The Pathfinder", "The Deerslayer"

Nathaniel Hawthorne

"The Scarlet Letter" and other works of his questioned intolerance and conformity of American life

Stages of Reform

at first, leaders hoped to improve people's behavior through moral persuasion, after they tried sermons, they moved on to political action and creating new institutions to replace the old


five gallons of hard alcohol was consumed per person in 1820, alcohol was targeted as a social ill, shift from moral exhortation to political action, million temperance members, path to middle-class respectability, German and Irish immigrants were opposed to it, factory owners and politicians joined because it would reduce crime and poverty and increase worker output

American Temperance Society

1826 ministers and others concerned with effects of excess drinking formed this organization, tried to persuade drinkers not just to moderate their drinking but to take a pledge of abstinence


temperance society begun in 1840 by recovering alcoholics, argued alcoholism was a disease that needed practical, helpful treatment


1851 first state to prohibit the manufacture and sale of intoxicating liquors

Public Asylums

humanitarian reformers called attention to criminals, emotionally disturbed, and paupers, forced to live in retched conditions, reformers set up new public institutions to help cure individuals of these antisocial behaviors

Mental Hospitals

Dorothea Dix was horrified to find mentally ill persons locked up with convicted criminals, dedicated life to improving their conditions, her report of conditions led many states to build new mental hospitals, give mental treatment

Dorothea Dix

leading insane asylum reformer

Thomas Gallaudet

founded a school for the deaft

Dr. Samuel Gridley

founded a school for the blind


new penitentiaries experimented with technique of placing prisoners in solitary confinement to force them to reflect on their sin, dropped because of high suicide rates, structure and discipline would bring about moral reform

Auburn system

penal experiment, enforced rigid rules of discipline while providing moral instruction and work programs

Horace Mann

leading advocate of the public school movement, compulsory attendance for all children, longer school year, increased teacher preparation, tax-supported schools quickly spread

Moral Education

Mann and others wanted children to be instructed in principles of morality

McGuffey Readers

created a series of elementary textbooks that became widely accepted as the basis of reading and moral instruction in hundreds of schools, extolled the virtues of punctuality, hard work, and sobriety, William Holmes McGuffey

Higher Education

religious enthusiasm of Second Great Awakening helped fuel growth of private colleges, Mt. Holyoke and Oberlin College began to admit women

Lyceum Lecture Societies

helped adult education, provided speakers to small-town audiences

American Family

roles of men and women were redefined, men would leave the home six days a week to work, women would remain at home and take care of the household and children, industrialization led families to have fewer children

New York Female Moral Reform Society

society that worked to prevent impoverished young women from being forced into lives of prostitution

Cult of Domesticity

women concentrated on the care of home and children, idealized view of women as moral leaders in the home and educators of the children

Letters on the Condition of Women and the Equality of the Sexes

1837 written by the Grimke sisters, objected to male opposition to heir antislavery activities

Seneca Falls Convention

1848 conference of leading feminists, issued a document, first women's rights convention, Stanton and Susan B. Anthony led campaign for equal voting, legal and property rights

Declaration of Sentiments

"all men and women are created equal", listed women's grievances against laws and customs that discriminated against them

American Colonization Society

1817 transporting freed slaves to an African colony, idea appealed to antislavery reformers with moderate views, politicians who wanted to banish blacks, 1822 founded society in Liberia, never proved practical, slave population grew greatly

The Liberator

1831 founded by William Lloyd Garrison, marked the beginning of the radical abolitionist movement, uncompromising views in newspaper, immediate abolition of slaves without compensation

American Antislavery Society

began in 1833 by Garrison and other leading abolitionists, Garrison condemned and burned the Constitution as a pro-slavery document, "no Union with slaveholders" until they repented their sins

Liberty Party

a group of northern abolitionists who believed political action would be successful formed this party, ran James Birney in 1840 and 1844, pledge to bring about the end of slaver by political and legal means

Black Abolitionists

escaped slaves and free blacks were outspoken and convincing, spoke about brutality and degradation of slavery, Douglass, Harriet Tubman, David Ruggles, Sojourner Truth, William Still, helped organize efforts to assist fugitive slaves escape to the North

Frederick Douglass

spoke about the brutality and degradation of slavery from first-hand experiences, "The North Star"

David Walker and Henry Highland Garnet

two northern blacks who advocated the most radical solution to the slavery question, slaves should take action themselves by rising up in revolt

Nat Turner

1831 Virginia slave led a revolt in which 55 whites were killed, hundreds of blacks were killed in retaliation, fear of future uprisings put an end to antislavery talk in the South

American Peace Society

founded in 1828, objective of abolishing war, influenced some New England reformers to oppose Mexican War

Other Reforms

anti-war reforms, laws to protect seamen from being flogged, dietary reforms, dress reform for women, phrenology


the study of the skull's shape to assess a person's character and ability

Southern Reaction to Reform

reforms succeeded very little in South, had no effect, more committed to tradition, slow to support public education and humanitarian reforms, alarmed to see anti-slavery reforms in the North

David Ruggles

an anti-slavery activist who was active in the New York Committee of Vigilance and the Underground Railroad. As an "African-American printer in New York City during the 1830s", who "was the prototype for black activist journalists of his time". He claimed to have led over six hundred people, including friend and fellow abolitionist Frederick Douglass, to freedom in the North.

Harriet Tubman

United States abolitionist born a slave on a plantation in Maryland and became a famous conductor on the Underground Railroad leading other slaves to freedom in the North (1820-1913)

William Still

African American abolitionist and author; 18th son of ex-slaves; wrote The Underground Railroad which chronicles how he helped 649 slaves escape to freedom via the Underground Railroad

Lucretia Mott

Quaker activist in both the abolitionist and women's movements; with Elizabeth Cady Stanton, she was a principal organizer of the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848.

Sojourner Truth

United States abolitionist and feminist who was freed from slavery and became a leading advocate of the abolition of slavery and for the rights of women (1797-1883)

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