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Republicanism, The Second Great Awakening and Antebellum Reform Movements

  • Republicanism permeated all aspects of U.S. social life, such as in marriage and in motherhood.
  • The concept of republican motherhood is the idea that women had civic duty to help evolve culture of the new nation: to prepare children to be virtuous republican citizens.
  • Republicanism movement energized Protestant churches & helped fuel many important social reform movements including abolitionism.
  • The Antislavery movement grew throughout the 1800s: the creation of the American Colonization Society in 1817,
  • The Second Great Awakening, a series of religious revivals from the 1790s to 1860 that took place in the “burned over district” in NY & Cane Ridge, KY, reinvigorated Protestant Churches, especially the Methodist and Baptist Churches.

Republicanism, The Second Great Awakening and Antebellum Reform Movements

Lecture Slides are screen-captured images of important points in the lecture. Students can download and print out these lecture slide images to do practice problems as well as take notes while watching the lecture.

  • Intro 0:00
  • Overview 0:51
  • A Democratic Republican Culture 1:54
    • Republican Marriages
    • Republican Motherhood
    • Raising Republican Children
    • Promoting Cultural Independence
  • Aristocratic Republicanism and Slavery 9:55
    • Necessary Evil
    • Wages-Slaves
    • Gabriel Prosser
    • Outlawed Slave Trade
  • Voting Rights Expand 14:05
  • The Antislavery Movement Early 1800s 15:06
    • Black Abolitionists
    • Haitian Revolution
    • The American Colonization Society
    • Liberia
  • Richard Allen 20:04
  • The Second Great Awakening 21:33
    • Huge Evangelized Hubs
    • Evangelic Methodist and Baptist Churches
    • Timothy Dwight and Charles Finney
  • Revival Meetings Could Last Up to a Week 23:53
  • Effects of the Second Great Awakening 26:01
    • A Fervently Protestant People
    • Academies
    • Women's Rights and Temperance Movements
    • Revivalism
    • Camp Meeting
    • Rationalism/Enlightenment (Deism)
    • Charles Grandison Finney
  • Finney and Revival 31:32
  • Other Religious Groups Arise 31:51
    • The Shakers
    • The United Society of Believers in Christ's Second Appearing
    • Utopian Society
  • The Shakers 35:27
  • Example 1 36:17
  • Example 2 38:43

Transcription: Republicanism, The Second Great Awakening and Antebellum Reform Movements

Welcome back to

This lesson is on republicanism, the second great awakening, and antebellum reform movements.0002

I lost my toolbar right away.0017

Good to go, sorry.0033

Welcome back to

This lesson is on republicanism, the second great awakening, and antebellum reform movements,0042

at least an introduction to them.0049

We are going to talk about, first of all, kind of getting into some of these major trends.0054

The Democratic Republican culture and how we are seeing republicanism take shape in various aspects of American culture throughout the 1800’s.0059

We are going to talk about the early antislavery movement, and the second great awakening, a major religious movement.0073

We have talked about the first great awakening previously.0081

We are going to see how the second great awakening will ultimately lead to an influence,0085

reform movements taking hold and taking shape throughout the United States.0091

In many ways, the second great awakening is going to create the platform and inspire many Americans to feel empowered,0099

and to reach out to improve conditions for more people throughout the United States.0108

First, I want to talk a little bit about republicanism, and republican culture, and values being instituted more and more throughout the 1800’s.0116

Kind of get into some social history here.0129

Some things to keep in mind is that, Americans in the United States were trying to forge their own identity,0132

and find their own identity, and distinguish themselves from Europeans.0141

This was a difficult process, as some of the traditions from the old world were starting to fade away.0147

But this is also going to cause a little bit of backlash to a certain extent in certain areas of the country.0158

Anyway, first topic I want to talk about is republican marriages.0164

In earlier times, marriages were oftentimes arranged, and increasingly0173

we are going to see consent based companionate marriages starting to become more and more practiced, and popular.0177

This is connected to the sentimentalism.0189

In many ways, we are going to see that there is an anti enlightenment, anti deism approach to how people live their lives,0194

that they have to be more in tune with their emotions and what they are feeling.0203

That is the idea behind sentimentalism, and not on rationality.0208

We are seeing a new way of thinking during this romantic era.0215

This is going to affect people's relationships and how they live their lives.0221

More and more, we are going to see that marriages are going to be based on love.0225

This is going to, perhaps, help the stability of many families and relationships, in the early years of the republic.0233

This sounds all warm and fuzzy, but in reality we are going to see that husbands will continue to remain authoritarian still in many households.0243

We have to take this into consideration as well.0255

We have to qualify it.0261

Several states did expand the legal grounds for divorce, along with marriage rights and new customs.0263

We are also going to see that there is liberalization for divorce rights.0271

Several states did expand the legal grounds for divorce to include drunkenness and personal cruelty.0277

That is ultimately going to empower more people and their marriages too, when necessary.0286

We will also see parenting is going to change quite a bit, as well as motherhood.0296

We will see republican motherhood is going to be very important,0302

as women are going to be expected to uphold their civic duty to help evolve the culture of the new nation.0308

How would they do this?0317

They try to instill in their children good republican values.0319

They prepare sons to be, specially the sons, virtuous republican citizens.0325

To be well informed, educated, and virtuous, and uphold these republican values.0332

Women's role within the household will be to educate and to teach morals.0340

There is a bias to this as well, that women are somehow more virtuous, and perhaps more the nurturing type.0346

That this kind of plays into stereotypes and so forth, that can be somewhat limiting.0359

But this is something that is going to be embraced widely throughout the early 1800’s.0363

With the second great awakening, with the religious movement taking shape as well, that is going to work well with this ideal.0371

What else can I include here?0383

This movement will energize Protestant churches, and definitely help fuel many important social reform movements including abolitionism.0384

Women are going to get involved, not only in educating their children but they are going to increasingly become more involved in the public sphere.0395

That is where we are seeing women starting to contest those boundaries that had been imposed upon them up to this point.0406

That will continue throughout the 1800’s.0415

And of course there will be backlash and limits to those attempts, to improve their rights and involvement in the public sphere.0417

Yes, raising republican children, huge important role for primarily women, but also men, to a certain extent.0431

We will see that there was a debate regarding education.0442

There will be kind of a class difference, based on that perspective here.0449

There will be an emphasis on public schooling that will increase significantly overall.0459

And among the elite, the importance of primary, secondary, and potentially college training, were emphasized.0465

But most American families needed the income, their children could provide.0471

That is also going to hold back the working class people.0476

Farmers, artisans, and laborers, wanted their children to know how to read, write, and do basic math.0482

And until the 1820’s, few children attended school for extended periods of time.0490

But post 1820’s, legislatures included provisions for public schools in local areas.0496

And increasingly, we will see that education will become compulsory for children.0505

We are also going to see the move to promote cultural independence.0512

Noah Webster argued that education should raise the nation's intellectual reputation.0518

Literally, culture was slow to catch on.0529

Literature in the United States is not as popular, but starting to gain more prominence in Europe,0536

that did not really become very popular until we will see mid to late 1800’s.0544

But early 1800’s, it is going to be struggling.0551

But there are some notable authors that are trying to make a name for themselves, and try to capture what it is to be an American.0557

They also tried to foster this republican ideology and the unique American experience.0565

We will come back to this a bit later, when we talk more about reform movements, and the American renaissance.0575

But Washington Irving is a great example along with many others who are writers,0580

who are very much trying to promote American culture and a unique style of literature,0587

and focusing on the environment, and so forth, and kind of the frontiersman, and ordinary Americans.0595

This idea of republicanism is very pervasive.0611

It is going to affect all different groups throughout the United States, even the aristocrats, the upper class.0614

Slavery is the antithesis of Republican ideas.0624

There is this contradiction, the idea of promoting slavery is against the idea of liberty.0630

There was this idea, even during the constitutional convention, amongst those who are not promoters of slavery that, they would eventually end it.0645

Despite this hope to end slavery, it did continue to exist throughout the 1800’s.0656

It seemed like those, specially, plantation owners, did not want to let it go.0662

A third of the south is made up of slaves.0668

In the north, there is going to be a difference.0672

Slavery was abolished in all states north of Delaware by 1804.0674

Not to say that everything was fair and equal, because it certainly was not.0681

Discrimination continued, but the actual institution of slavery was illegal.0686

In the south, it was defended and considered a so called necessary evil.0692

As I have mentioned in the previous lesson, that there will be those who come up with all different types of justifications.0698

And in fact, will claim that slaves are treated better than wage slaves in the factories in the north,0707

those who are toiling away in these dark factories for low wages0718

and have to live in dilapidated buildings, in awful crowded tenements, and so forth.0722

These crowded apartments, and just awful living conditions.0730

Many promoters in the south, those supporters of slavery will be very critical of the factory system in the north.0736

There will certainly be those who will challenge the institution of slavery and continue to fight against this institution.0748

Gabriel Prosser led a very famous uprising in 1800 in Virginia, that resulted in him and 30 others being hanged.0756

Kind of a reaction and counter reaction here.0767

Unfortunately, for those who are advocating to end slavery and rise up, and radically force change and kill their masters.0774

Another example that even though this system is in place, there are those who are still fighting against it, rising up,0788

and trying to put an end to it, and get the message out, and empower other slaves to rise up.0794

But again, a very difficult thing to do, as many slaves were brainwashed and felt disempowered and hopeless.0800

Those who are very radical were of minority.0813

Republicanism for whites was obviously limited, according to slavery supporters in the south.0817

We will see by 1808 that the slave trade was outlawed, but again, the institution remained.0827

It would not be until 1865, after the Civil War, when we have the 13th amendment, when slavery will finally be abolished.0835

But for now, it is intact.0845

Kind of segwaying into republican voting rights and also building on the theme that we are seeing a democratization increase.0849

And again, to a certain extent.0860

I say that after just following a discussion of slavery.0863

Like obviously there are limits, we also knew women have limits too to their power and to their ability to participate in politics.0868

These two maps are showing you how we are starting to see changes, in terms of suffrage rights.0879

And by 1830, we are seeing less and less property qualifications throughout the United States.0884

And in fact, you will also see an expansion of the universal white male suffrage.0892

And certainly by the time we get to Andrew Jackson, this is going to be extremely significant.0897

Moving along, and we are going to come back to the antislavery movement,0906

and how it is going to increase and how it is going to connect to global politics at the time.0912

Black abolitionist became very vocal after the slave trade ended.0926

Increasingly, we will see the abolitionist movement taking shape.0933

Many will use the Haitian revolution as evidence of the ability of the people to overthrow the institution.0943

Even though, we will see Gabriel Prosser, he was very strongly advocating and empowering people to do this,0951

we are not going to see a very widespread effort like we did in Haiti.0958

The other thing to keep in mind is Haiti had a very strong leadership, and 70% of the population was made up of African slaves.0965

They definitely were able to easily overcome the minority whites in Haiti.0978

But this was a huge breakthrough for African-Americans, and this is not even in the United States but throughout Latin America as well.0985

As we will see in fact, slavery is going to be outlawed in several Latin American countries, even way before the United States.0997

This is going to be very inspirational, and people do hear of it.1007

Although certainly, many slave owners do not want this to spread.1010

They do not want to give their slaves any radical ideas to revolt.1016

However, we are going to start to see people more and more joining antislavery societies.1022

And a full fledged abolitionist movement will increase.1028

However, there is the other trend, the demand for slaves continued to increase with the cotton boom.1033

As I have mentioned in the previous lesson, cotton becomes king.1040

Cotton is a huge moneymaker and people are not willing to change over their plantations,1044

and to change their economic system, when they are doing so well economically.1052

The American Colonization Society was also formed around 1817, in fact.1064

This was founded by white men, with the goal of freeing slaves and sending them back to Africa.1073

This was a different approach, not only just abolish slavery in the United States, for instance,1078

but actually this was kind of an idea that people are not going to be successful here, they are never going to be accepted.1085

And let us just send them back to Africa, and put an end to this evil institution.1092

About 6000 African-Americans end up re-settling what is now known as Liberia.1100

And in fact, Monrovia which was named after President James Monroe that is still around today, has this tied to this history.1107

This was a very difficult process.1119

As you can see, this is a substantial number but not a huge number.1121

This did not end up being a long lasting process and activity.1128

It is an example that there were people taking the effort to address the problem of slavery and come up with a new approach,1135

and think about more of a pan-African approach, kind of encouraging African-Americans and helping them to go back to Liberia.1147

But again, this was not easy as well, because do people have the language skills, did they have the means to be able to build a life in Liberia?1156

And the environment there, as well, where they first settled was very hostile.1168

There were a lot of challenges to this idea.1175

Most free blacks opposed this colonization scheme, as they started to see themselves as Americans.1180

This was the other thing that caused a lot of conflict and did not make this a viable, long lasting, solution.1187

Although, stay tuned because we will see that this idea will be revived in the 1920’s, with Marcus Garvey.1195

Then we are going to talk about the leadership of this important African-American leader and minister Richard Allen.1208

He is a Reverend in Philadelphia of the African-American Methodist Church.1218

This is going to be a very important institution that will empower African-Americans in the early civil rights movement,1227

if you will, the abolitionist movement.1235

This will also tie into the second great awakening, where we are going to see many protestant churches gaining in popularity.1240

Many of the themes in the Bible will be very appealing to African-Americans, and empower,1252

especially, free African-Americans to be hopeful with the messages in the Bible,1260

and finding the promised land, and freedom, and liberty, this type of thing.1269

Richard Allen, he founded the first independent black protestant church in 1816.1278

It supported abolition and founded educational institutions for free blacks.1285

That is going to be extremely important in African-American empowerment1291

and in giving many people an opportunity to improve their lives and education.1298

Along those lines, I should also add that the Baptist Church will also draw in many African-Americans.1307

You will see a lot of the intersection here of how the emotionalism of the second reawakening1315

and this evangelical theme will have a huge influence on the African-American Baptist Church, in particular.1324

The second great awakening, this involved a series of religious revivals similar to the first great awakening.1337

But this took place 1790’s to 1860.1344

There were huge evangelized hubs, what was known as the burned over district in upstate New York,1348

Central New York all the way to Rochester and Cambridge, Kentucky.1358

The churches that prospered during revivals were those that preached spiritually equality and governed themselves democratically.1364

Again, kind of tying back to the Methodist church of Richard Allen.1373

We are going to see that whole message is going to be very appealing and empowered African-American people,1378

and we will see, all Americans, ultimately.1386

Evangelical, Methodist and Baptist churches were the most popular, and drew the most during the second great awakening.1390

This movement energized protestant churches and helped fuel many important social reform movements including abolitionism.1399

Unlike Calvinist preachers who had spoken of predestination, preachers of this era such as Timothy Dwight and Charles Finney,1408

these are the who is who of the second great awakening,1417

proclaimed that one's actions on earth played at least some role in the individuals fate after death.1419

That was much different than what previous ministers had advocated for, and that is one of the major themes of this era.1427

We are going to see that these revivals, these emotional gatherings were huge, these camp meetings.1437

They would take place in the outdoor environment.1444

What do you see in this picture?1449

People are falling over.1453

It is maybe a little bit hard for you to see, but take a glance at it, and I will break some of this down.1455

As you could see, they are kind of sprawled out, they are fainting.1466

They are being overcome by the spirit, by the message.1469

People would be speaking in tongues, they would writhe uncontrollably.1474

These itinerant preachers, these traveling preachers, were extremely emotional.1481

They would use a lot of charisma to try to get their message across.1487

Sometimes these meetings could last up to a week.1492

They went on and on, and people gathered.1495

To many people, a very meaningful significant experience.1501

It brought all these people together, they mingled.1505

You may particularly see gender wise, especially, in the front here, a majority of women.1508

Women in fact are going to be pulled into this movement.1516

This movement is going to pull them into the public sphere.1520

It gives them confidence to speak, and to participate, and to go through this conversion experience in public.1524

And that is going to start breaking barriers, so to speak,1534

and be the first step for women to get more involved in politics and advocating for their own rights.1537

People are listening, people are feeling emotion, they are overcome by all of the messages that was coming across.1551

What were some of the other effects of the second great awakening?1564

We are going to see the growth of different denominations and popular acceptance,1567

that a wife and husband could belong to separate churches.1572

That is a new development that people are people are becoming a lot more open minded,1576

that they are able to be more tolerant of difference.1582

And that is going to pull out all the Protestant churches together as well.1587

And ultimately, it has the effect of making Americans more fervently protestant people, for better or for worse.1591

We will see that in some cases, especially later on, when there is a more nativist movement1601

against Catholic groups and immigrant groups, in particular, there is a downside to that.1606

But there is also a positive side that it had a unifying effect, and helped impact an emerging national identity.1611

This is one of the controversies, you could say.1620

It had themes that definitely causes some tension in the United States because on one hand,1625

we have the idea of freedom of religion and on the other hand1632

we had this establishment clause, the separation of church and state.1637

There are some who would argue that religion is dying in the United States.1643

There would be those who are saying that, who would say even today, that religion and evangelical Christianity is alive and kicking,1650

and still has a huge impact over the decisions we make, and culture, and politics.1657

Although very controversial.1665

There are people on the left and on the right, who have very strong feelings one way or another, regarding this phenomenon.1666

Moving along, women are very much involved.1679

The work is volunteers, many churches set up academies to educate women.1682

And again, this is going to be very empowering.1688

Minority groups, in particular, African-Americans, women, and to a certain extent,1691

Native Americans too, will become empowered by the second great awakening.1698

Women could pray in public, there is advance in women's rights.1703

Yes, the idea that to live a good live, improve upon your existence.1706

The protestant church is going to become very involved in the temperance movement.1714

Women are going to be at the forefront of that because they are the ones who are suffering,1719

when their husbands are getting drunk and beating them, just to put it bluntly.1726

Sometimes when people are out of their minds, and it is still a problem today.1732

People got fed up with it and they wanted to end drinking.1739

They really want to put an end to it, or at least focus on temperance, or just have people use caution when drinking alcohol.1744

But we will get into that on a much larger scale next time, in much more depth.1754

As I was saying, other groups as well.1761

The appeal of the egalitarian message drawing all kinds of people.1763

The first camp meeting began in Kentucky in 1801.1769

This was an extraordinary revival that lasted for days, and there were thousands of people, more than 25,000 people.1773

We will see the backlash against rationalism and deism.1786

Revivalist encourages a return to god, in Christ, and to become a more pious person, and ultimately a more pious community.1796

This is like let us walk the walk.1806

If you want to be a good Christian, show it, show the people, get out there and do something,1808

and be a good Christian and try to improve society.1814

That is going to be the spiritual rationale and impetus.1818

It is going to make people feel that they want to help people who are struggling with alcohol abuse.1822

They want to help those who are suffering in poverty.1830

They want to help African-Americans who were bonded in slavery.1834

They want to help women who are either poor.1839

They want to help their political situation, so that they can have to vote, they can have political power.1848

All those types of reform movements are going to become very important, and we will talk about it more later.1853

Prison reform is another one, just came to mind.1859

Second great awakening, very significant, and ties into other movements and utopian societies as well, later on.1863

Finney is the most important, most famous of the ministers of the second great awakening.1873

This inspirational speaker enjoyed huge success, particularly, in upstate New York,1881

and later became the president of Oberlin College in Ohio.1886

There he is, the man, the myth, the legend.1894

Here again, you can see a camp meeting, people charismatically and emotionally, especially, this guy here, expressing their faith.1897

As a result of this empowerment, we will see that other groups,1913

I’m just going to go through one type of society that is very much in reaction to the second great awakening,1916

grows out of the second great awakening, and is also created in reaction to what is happening in industrialized society.1927

The Shakers are one such community, this group is going to try to create an alternative type of society1937

and they have several important values that they are trying to live by.1947

They have their own community and they are not partaking in mainstream U.S. society.1958

Women were very much inspired by the second great awakening.1966

We are going to see that the Shakers are prime example of women taking action and being leaders.1971

Mother Ann Lee was the founder of the Shakers in 1770’s, this was in New England.1978

And eventually, they expanded into the northwest by the 1840’s.1986

This is the formal name, the United Society of Believers in Christ Second Appearing.1991

I forgot to bring that up, when we are talking about the second great awakening.1999

There were millenialists, there were those who did advocate for this idea of Christ second appearing,2005

and they believed that it would happen soon.2013

This was not the majority of people in the second great awakening2016

but there was a sizable group that believed in this idea, and the Shakers are one of those groups.2020

They were called popularly the Shakers because of their ecstatic dancing style.2030

They were committed to celibacy.2036

I always joke around with my students about this, a lot of people will say that is why they were not long lasting because they were celibates.2041

Since they were a pretty small community, they could not continue on as a people because they did not have a lot of children.2048

Those who were faithful to this idea did not have children.2058

This utopian society, they are trying to create this perfect society and live by their values in a genuine way.2063

Anyway, they were separate from the chaos and disorder of mainstream U.S. life.2075

They did not like what was happening in the factory towns and industrialized urban centers.2080

The pollution, the poor conditions, the poverty, the toil the people had to face.2087

They wanted to create a society where everyone participated, and everyone owned the property,2094

a very socialist style and approach to property ownership.2103

At the height in 1840, more than 6000 believers lived in 19 communal villages from New England to Ohio and Kentucky.2112

This was a pretty decent size group and they have a successful, to a great extent, society,2123

but was not very long lasting.2132

Here is a picture of the Shakers doing their dance, two pictures here.2135

You can see where they separate the sexes here.2143

But again, they kind of did this special shaking that was kind of fun.2148

In fact, if you look on, you can find a really old shaker lady who does some of the dances,2151

if you are curious to see more about this, to see this style.2159

The Shakers were also known for making high quality furniture.2163

They are known for being excellent craftsmen.2168

I wanted to include that on the slide as well, so you can have a visual.2174

Okay, I think that is the end, we have to wrap it up.2179

And next time, we will talk about more and more of the utopian societies and reform movements2184

that will become more important, and spread throughout the United States.2190

You have seen this picture.2197

I think it is great to be exposed to as many visuals and primary sources as possible throughout the class.2199

You should try to become familiar with several of them.2207

Let us look at the question.2211

The second great awakening was characterized by which of the following.2213

A widespread belief that the second coming of Christ was near.2216

Growing unity among past protestant churches.2221

An emphasis on rationalism.2224

The decline in women’s involvement in religious life.2226

The answer is this one.2232

This one is a pretty close second, but I think if I had to choose between these two, this one is actually a better answer.2238

Even though, there certainly was a sizable movement.2246

In fact, I was a little bit conflicted with this question.2250

But this one would be the better choice to go with.2255

But again, I just wanted to point that out because I know sometimes,2255

you could certainly have different interpretation based on the wording and some of these multiple choice questions.2264

Number 2, which of the following gained the most during the second great awakening?2273

Puritan ministers, women, the Catholic Church, or the highly educated?2279

The answer is women.2286

The scene in the painting is most likely a widespread belief that the second coming of Christ was near,2303

A large camp meeting, a Puritan revival, a 19th century town meeting.2309

The answer is a large camp meeting.2317

Number 2, what do we have in this picture?2326

The caption here is, in case you cannot see it, republican families and servants.2335

Based on the painting, what is the social and economic status of the family?2346

They are well to do, they support the abolitionist cause, they are a poor family, they are illiterate.2351

The answer is well to do because they can afford having slaves in the first place, their clothing, that they have a drawing room, all those things.2365

Which of the following elements of republican family life are apparent in the portrait?2375

Companionate marriage, primogeniture, the children are being disciplined by their parents,2379

the father was taking charge of the children's education?2385

The answer is companionate marriage.2391

With that, thank you for watching