Reform Movements in Second Great Awakening

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‘Reform movements in the United States sought to expand democratic ideals. Assess the validity of this statement with specific reference to the years 1825-1850.’ Reform movements in the United States sought to expand democratic ideals from the quarter century time period of 1825-1850 also known as the Second Great Awakening. These democratic ideals included voting for everyone eighteen and older (with the exception of minors, women, insane, and criminals), freedom of expression, press, speech and religion, election of officials, property rights, free and public education, more than one political party, equal rights, equality before the law entitling a person to due process, separation of church and state, tolerance of diversity, institutional uncertainty, protection of minority rights, and no special privileges. Teaching them the habits of thrift, orderliness, temperance and industry was a way to not only better their lives but a way to instill certain so-called democratic values and advance the perfection of the whole of society. Many people liked the ideal change from an ancient Romanesque republic to an ancient Greek democracy. After visiting the United States during the early 1830’s, Alexis de Tocqueville put all of his observations into a book entitled Democracy in America. In this significant book, he depicted democracy as “not only deficient in that soundness of judgment which is necessary to select men really deserving of its confidence, but it has neither desire nor the inclination of find them…” (Document 3) The theology of the Second Great Awakening can be split up into six subdivisions: personal commitment, revivals, conversion of the world, millennialism, perfectionism, and a utopia. Personal commitment consis... ... middle of paper ... ...uency. According to Document A, people did not know what to do with minors that committed a crime. “To confine these youthful criminals…where no, or scarcely any, distinction can be made between the young and old, or between the more and less vicious, where little can be learned but the ways of the wicked, and from whence they must be sent to encounter new wants, new temptations, and to commit new crimes, is to pursue a course, as little reconcilable with justice as humanity; yet, till the House of Refuge was established there was no alternative.” (Document A) As time passed tolerance of diversity came along with these democratic ideals. They not only changed society, they changed a country on the verge of a civil war. Ultimately, however, because of these ideals and the theology of the Second Great Awakening, the chance of war precipitated and tore a country in two.
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