The only religious revival but also societal revival and

The Second Great Awakening was an
era of not only religious revival but also societal revival and the religious
aspect of the awakening coerced many of the movements. Religion was the root of
each “awakening” whether it was Women’s Rights, Abolition, Education or Asylum
reform. In order for each reform to occur, the idea had to have been inspired
by sets of ideals and notions being taught. From those, leaders extracted parts
of them and were enlightened, they saw what they believed to be wrong and moved
to make change.

            Preachers,
such as Charles G. Finney, traveled across America to preach the Bible and it’s
teachings. The Bible can be interpreted in many ways, it is up to the
individual to take what a preacher says and form their own belief and rules
towards it. Each person has a different interpretation of what it says and what
it allows. He converted many but unknowingly he also inspired many.

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Transcendentalism, an idea that stated individual experiences should be focused
on reasoning, evolved throughout this. The Bible teaches its audience to be
morally and holistically good, to never sin. The temperance movement moved to
limit the consumption of alcohol.  The temperance movement was important because it
not only supported the concept of individual choice and responsibility, but it
also reinforced Biblical teachings that being intoxicated led to sinning and
disappointment in God’s eyes. Though this reform was in part due to the
booming establishments of factories and to prevent injuries, it had much more wrapped
under its name. When temperance reformers met other reformers they together
tried to improve other aspects of society. Transcendentalism is key in this
because people were making a choice to better themselves for God and also, for
themselves. Religion invoked the need to please God but also the need for
individuals to want to please themselves.

            Abolitionism
was the reform movement to end slavery and abolitionists fought for the idea
that all people are created equal in God’s eyes. This was major because not
only did they dare to defy the institution of slavery but also they deemed
slaves to be humans. Ideas for reform
sprang from religion because people were trying to follow their morals and the
wishes of the church. The church, at least in the North, condemned slavery. It
was viewed as evil, sinful and un-Christian man made institution that was
frowned upon in the eyes of God. The idea of an all powerful being watching
over them standby and allow slavery to occur instilled fear amongst them. The
thought of not being granted access to Heaven pushed and motivated them to
induce change. Abolitionists fought for “immediate emancipation”, to quote
William Lloyd Garrison, a pillar of the abolitionism movement. Many women
fought for abolitionism as a precursor to fighting for women’s rights as well.

If slaves could get their freedom through this movement then within time, it
was though that women would be able to receive equality when compared to men.

Though the Bible implies a woman is to be submissive to a man, it says nothing
of a woman being less human or inferior to a man. Women such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton
went as far as revamping the constitution in the Seneca Falls Declaration of
Sentiments. In it, she basically inserted women everywhere men were to
basically announce that women should and deserve the same God-given rights men
have.

            Education was also a reform inspired
by religion because if all people are equal in God’s eyes then why are only the
rich being given the luxury of education. Horace Mann, otherwise known as the
“Father” of education believed in tax supported public schools. All children
should be given the same opportunity to learn and many people agreed with him.

He also spread the idea that education was important for democracy; children
should not have their minds deteriorate when they are the next generation in
America’s future. Religiously, the main motive was no child should be unequal
to another and made to feel less inferior when God loves all his people
equally. Not having an education can make children feel inadequate and in God’s
eyes, all children and adults are adequate. Religious training was an education
but very secular, so by teaching children a broader curriculum, their eyes are
widened to all things in the world and this is meant to keep them knowledgeable
for the future whether in politics or disputing their faith with another
person.

            Dorothea Dix fought for those who
simply could not fight for themselves, the mentally ill. She showed the wrong
in placing those who did not know any better in prisons with actual criminals
who knew right from wrong. The Asylum and Penal reform movements were highly influenced
by forgiveness and love, two major components of Christianity. The Bible says
that children and those unable to distinguish sinful actions from right actions
will be shown love and granted access into Heaven.  By setting up the first penitentiary, she
established and proved that mental illness was a barrier for many people. It
was a disease, not a chosen lifestyle; these people did not know they were
misbehaving because they could not process that. That never meant they should
be wrongfully incarcerated, especially when God himself wouldn’t do that to
them. The purpose here was to be godly and do as God would. He would show them
kindness and forgiveness and though these asylums were not very kind, they were
much better than prisons and were a step in the right direction.

            The Second Great Awakening was an
era of religious revival, just as the first one was, except this
revival-influenced reform. It brought about much needed change in many aspects
of everyday life. Steps toward the expulsion of slavery were being taken at a
new and more intense level. Education was now starting to be granted to a
startling amount of the population. The mentally ill were finally receiving
treatment, not imprisonment. People were taking steps to better and sober themselves
instead of excessively drinking alcohol and having clouded judgment.  Women were starting to have a voice, no
matter how small; they were beginning to announce their importance. Religion
influenced these movements by giving relatively small ideas and inspiring
transcendentalism. People took the Bible’s teachings and began to relate them
to their own experiences and everyday lives and by doing so, they took steps
towards demanding change and invoking antebellum.