History, Revealed

Issue 2, vol 1 Editor in Cheif: Sydney Veatch

Another month, Another Topic

This month's newletter is dedicated to discussing the 2nd Great Awakening and reformation movements of that time. As always, we welcome readers opinions on our humble newletter in hopes of constantly improving. Keep reading and learning!

The 2nd Great Awakening and it's Path to Reformation

Awakening a 2nd Time

One of the largest religious revivals was the Second Great Awakening. Spanning from the 1790's to the 1830's, thousands about thousands of people attending camp style meetings in which preachers would preach to large groups (typically outdoors) and urge them to convert. For the first time, piety was seen as more important for individual salvation that university education for ministers. In the beginning the most widespread denominations were Quakers, Congregationalists, and Anglicans. However, by 1800 the Baptists, Evangelic, and Methodists had replaced them and become some of the fast growing religions of that time. By preaching that all people had the free will to choose to be saved and by asserting salvation was open to every human, people were given a more optimistic view on life and faith. The second great awakening was participated by all citizens, often regardless of race or gender, marking a chance for future reformations in which equality could be strived for.

Sharing about the Shakers

One of the many religious movements that came from the 2nd great awakening was the development of the United Society of Believers in Christ's Second Appearing. ( Known to most as the Shakers, as dance was a major part of their worship) They lived in very Utopian style communities in which property was held commonly and sexual activity was banned. They only allowed growth through the act of conversion, as opposed to marriage or birth. Though they originated in England, their popularity in American grew during the 2nd great awakening. They hit their highest point around 1850 with about 6000 members in various communities. The Shakers still persist to this day but are not the same as their ancestors. Today they remain known for their music, furniture and equality between men and women.
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The Female Moral Reform Society

A campaign was started in the 1830's New York by Lydia Finney to rid areas of prostitution, the sexual double standard, licentious, and to promote abstinence when it came to sex. The campaign was started due to the large amounts of crime in New York's five point district at the time. This woman ran movement attracted an immense amount of support from all of the United States and inspired several Moral Reform Society's to start in many other states. These Society's often lobbied for the illegalization of prostitution and many had their own constitutions to govern their actions. The popularity of the group declined by the mid 1850's and dissipated all together by the time of the civil war. These organizations are still viewed as an important movement due to the fact that it acted as sort of a catalyst for other women run reform movements such as women's rights or temperance.
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Teaching on Temperance

And last this week on History Revealed, we come to one of the most infamous reform movements stemming from the 2nd Great Awakening: The Temperance movement. The American Society for the Promotion of Temperance was founded in 1826. Originally, their goal was to urge people to pledge abstinence of alcohol, but they soon moved to lobbying for prohibition. In the minds of many women and a few accompanying men, alcohol consumption levels were exceeding of the limits needed to have a stable social and home life. Many citizens took the pledge to join the "Cold Water Army" and avoid drinking, to this point there was over 5,000 temperance societies by 1836. While they movement was effective (and foreshadowed the national prohibition in the early twentieth century), it never fully overcame the nation. While most of its failure was due to the fact that more people supported moderation and prohibition, this editor can't help but to wonder what would have happened if women would have been allowed to vote during this time.
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  • Barber, John Warner. Enfield Shaker Village, Enfield, Connecticut. Digital image. Shakers Workshop. Connecticut Historical Connections, 1836. Web.
  • Boundless. “Utopian Communities.” Boundless U.S. History. Boundless, 21 Jul. 2015. Retrieved 03 Dec. 2015
  • Female Moral Reform Society of the City of New York, Report at the First Annual Meeting of the New York Female Moral Reform Society, May 15, 1835 (New York: William Newell, 1835), as reproduced in Carol Lasser and Stacey Robinson, Antebellum Women (Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, 2010), 134-135.
  • Hess, Sophie. Nessecity of a Pure Heart. Digital image. Oberlin College Archives. N.p., 2012. Web.
  • Moran, J. "Introduction to Temperance Reform for Teachers." Introduction to Temperance Reform for Teachers. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Dec. 2015.
  • Shakers During Worship. Digital image. Shaker Historical Society. Shaker History, Spring 2011. Web.