Antebellum Reform - Study Notes

Essay by thekingandqueen January 2009

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1.What was millennialism in the antebellum era? Identify and discuss the significance of the Shakers.

-believed that people should return to the simplicity and purity of the early Christian Church by withdrawing from the vanities of society & practicing celibacy-organized their communities into “families”-believed in spiritual and formal equality between men and women-separation of the sexes-men and women lived in separate quarters-labor was strictly organized by gender-can achieve salvation here and now (while you’re alive) -->Second Great Awakening-immediateness --> cannot wait 25 years – gradualism may not be soon enough-each one of us must be committed to abolishing slavery → anyone who refuses to help abolish is as guilty as any slave-owner-prepared themselves for a judgment day --> maintained moral purity (utopian reform – focus on conviction --> wanted to stop excess drinking, later on emphasis on no sex – die out) examples of this are: the Mormon Church, Shakers-perfectionism, immediatism, moral suasion – anti-institutionalism-led to educational reform and McGuffy books tried to incorporate good social values within ppl-practical reform --> abolition, moral purity, educational reform, temperance, women’s rights, prison reform, creation of insane asylums (more egalitarian, democratic, inclusive America)-abolitionist community --> created the Liberty Party in 18402.

Identify and discuss the significance of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints.

-Mormons --> have their own version of the Bible & started in upstate NY --> became known as “Burned Over District” dramatically changing people’s lives-once Joseph Smith started to preach the doctrine of plural marriage (one of the ways that utopian reform rejects traditional values in society – don’t believe in consuming caffeine) --> confusion was ignited-the Mormon community split and anti-Mormon outraged flared-Smith was thrown in jail and them murdered by a mob-the Mormons then traveled to the Great Salt Lake and founded their permanent community of believers3.Identify and discuss the significance of Charles Grandison Finney.

-he was a missionary from the West-one of the most influential advocated of Protestantism-spread beliefs about a God of Justice --> laid his case before humans to accept salvation or not-those affected by the economic boom were especially drawn to his preaching4.What was the Benevolent Empire? What is moral suasion?-the new evangelical emphasis on personally agency soon assumed the character of broad impulse for social reform expressed in religious terms ;--> often referred to as the Benevolent Empire-moral suasion --> method of the Benevolent Empire-believed that social change through the gradual internal awakening of individual moral purpose --> coaxed through personal contact, testimony, and where needed exhortation-need to convince them for the need of change --> goes in two directions (practical & utopian reform)-don’t think that the political parties should be used to implement reform (anti-institutionalism)Bibliography:Making a Nation (textbook)