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Reforming American Society

The Second Great Awakening
Discover how the Second Great Awakening swept the United States during the first part of the nineteenth century as you examine this section from a digital history textbook chapter. You will learn about the connection between education and religious beliefs, new interests in religion, and social reform. The common practice of revivals is explained and you will find out what made these experiences very dramatic. The impact of the Second Great Wave is discussed and you can access the remaining sections of the chapter that also address religion.
Topic: Second Great Awakening
Language: English
Lexile: 1230

Evangelicalism, Revivalism, and the Second Great Awakening
This essay written by Donald Scott covers areas of conversion, revivalism, the second great awakening, and guiding student discussions. Evangelicalism has always played an important part in Protestantism. The core of the 19th century evangelicalism was the experience of conversion. Conversion consists of a sequence of clearly stated steps. The process of conversion begins in a state of concern about one's soul and the question is asked, What can I do to be saved?
Topic: Second Great Awakening, Evangelicalism
Language: English
Lexile: 1590

Religion and the Founding of the American Republic: Religion and the New Republic
By the 1820s evangelical Protestantism, with its revivals and reforming preachers, was the dominant strain of Christianity in the United States. Evangelists like Charles G. Finney (1792-1875) set out to convert the nation, which was expanding ever westward. Religion and the Founding of the American Republic, a virtual exhibit of the Library of Congress, comprises text and images from the Second Great Awakening, including a section entitled The Emergence of the African American Church. The Second Great Awakening has been called the central and defining event in the development of Afro-Christianity.
Topic: Second Great Awakening, Finney, Charles Grandison,--1792-1875, Mormon church--History
Language: English
Lexile: 1360

The Second Great Awakening
The Second Great Awakening was a historical event in the United States in 1831. The leading evangelist of this religious revival movement was Charles Grandison Finney. He is introduced at this site from Learner.org, which is called a Biography of America. His characteristic style at revivals is described. Find out about a parable he often told at revivals in attempt to convert individuals. The impact of the Second Great Awakening on women is discussed. Finney's theology is compared with Calvinist ideas.
Topic: Finney, Charles Grandison,--1792-1875
Language: English
Lexile: 1110

The Life and Ministry of Charles G. Finney

During the religious movement known as the Second Great Awakening, Charles G. Finney joined social reform to evangelical religion by encouraging those
who were converted to become involved in such social concerns as the anti-slavery campaign, temperance, education, and women's rights. In addition to photos of the evangelist and his birthplace, this site includes links to biographical sketches, a timeline of his life, and Finney's memoir, which, in its turn, includes descriptions of numerous revivals.
Topic: Second Great Awakening, Finney, Charles Grandison,--1792-1875
Language: English
Lexile: 1320

Religion: Introduction
A description of the religious revival that took place in New York State during the first half of the nineteenth century can be found in this article and includes the types of religions, the types of immigrants that brought religion to the state, and the most common of all religions. There is a great deal of information on the Methodist Church and the significant role that circuit riders played in the church's large and growing population. You will discover how circuit riders functioned, how they were rewarded for their service, and why they recruited the types of people they did.
Topic: Religions, Circuit riders, New York (State)--History
Language: English
Lexile: 1340

Early Industrialization
Webpages with resources.


The Web of American Transcendentalism

You will find a wide variety of resources that address different issues related to American Transcendentalism in this comprehensive online collection. You will find articles that discuss various issues and reviews related to Transcendentalism, information on authors who were part of this movement and their texts, and information on the influences and roots of Transcendentalism. There is also information on the different ideas and thought associated
with Transcendentalism and a selection of criticisms as well.
Topic: Transcendentalism (New England)
Language: English
Lexile: 1140

The Transcendentalism movement is thoroughly explored in this philosophical encyclopedia article. Following an overview that describes this movement and its affiliated writers you will find a section that discusses what is known about the origins of the Transcendentalism movement, the major influences and ideas, and the characteristics that defined the movement. Another section provides information on particular writers and pieces of work that were influential. Information on the social and political criticism of the Transcendentalism movement is provided as well.
Topic: Transcendentalism (New England)
Language: English
Lexile: 1350
Encyclopedia http://plato.stanford.edu

Ralph Waldo Emerson
This site is dedicated to the philosophy of transcendentalism. Although there have been many authors on this subject there has probably not been a writer that has so profoundly influenced American thought as Ralph Waldo Emerson. Emerson urged independent thinking and stressed that not all life's answers are found in books. This page has a complete listing of Emerson's works, in order by year written, with links to electronic text versions of them. There is a version the Conduct of Life, which is divided by subject. The first chapter on fate is a web study text that includes questions and commentaries to aide in you understanding of the text.
Topic: Transcendentalism (New England), Emerson, Ralph Waldo,--1803-1882
Language: English
Lexile: 1470

Happy Birthday, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Father of Transcendentalism
Known as the father of transcendentalism, Ralph Waldo Emerson was an essayist, minister, poet, and philosopher. You can learn all about the life and work of Ralph Waldo Emerson in this biography. You will find a description of Emerson's early life that included the ministry. Information on the abandonment of his church and extensive travels is provided along with a discussion on his developing philosophy. The accomplishments that earned him fame are also discussed along with the events that surrounded his death. Be sure to scroll down for excellent source links.
Topic: Emerson, Ralph Waldo,--1803-1882
Language: English
Lexile: 1300

The Writings of Henry D. Thoreau
Accurate texts of Henry David Thoreau's complete works can be found at this web site. Visit the writing section to learn about Thoreau's career as a writer and to see manuscripts, correspondence, journal transcripts and more. You can even see a sample of Thoreau's handwriting. The biographical section of the site discusses Thoreau's writing career and his connection to the Transcendentalist movement in New England. Get answers to frequently asked questions about Thoreau. One feature of the site lets you locate quotes by Thoreau.
Topic: Thoreau, Henry David,--1817-1862
Language: English
Primary Source Material: http://www.library.ucsb.edu

Henry David Thoreau
The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy provides information about philosopher and author Henry David Thoreau. The introduction describes the scope and variety of Thoreau's works. Read about Thoreau's life and education and learn about his most famous work, Walden, published in 1854. Understand Thoreau's views on nature and human existence, the ethics of perception, and friendship and politics. The encyclopedia discusses Thoreau's relationship with Ralph Waldo Emerson and his involvement with the abolitionist movement. You will find a list of Thoreau's works.
Topic: Thoreau, Henry David,--1817-1862
Language: English
Lexile: 1430
Encyclopedia: http://plato.stanford.edu

Women's Reform Movement and Seneca Falls

Teaching With Documents: Petition of Amelia Bloomer Regarding Suffrage in the West
In the 19th century, American reformers believed that religious, moral, social, and political reality could match the high ideals of democracy. In the midst of social reforms, Americans debated constitutional rights, including women's suffrage. Amelia Bloomer was among the leaders of the reformers and suffragists. She is perhaps best known for bloomers, trouser-like pants worn under a skirt, which became a symbol of freedom from the cumbersome outfits worn in her day. Her efforts in social reform went far beyond clothing, as she spoke out for temperance, suffrage, and property rights.
Topic: Suffragists
Language: English
Lexile: 1170

Biography of Susan B. Anthony
Susan B. Anthony fought hard for what she believed in throughout her life. She was a teacher for many years and worked hard to change the way students were taught. Later, she became active in suffrage. Suffrage was the woman's rights movement designed to help women gain the right to own their own property and earnings. Learn more about her life and times here.
Topic: Anthony, Susan B.
Language: English
Lexile: 1250

Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815–1902)
Elizabeth Cady Stanton was highly educated for a woman of her time and married a man who shared her passion for the abolition of slavery. Their travels led them to another issue to tackle, which was women's rights. This biography tells you of Stanton's efforts as an abolitionist and a women's rights activist. Her beliefs are clearly described and include the specific rights women deserved. Stanton's involvement in particular organizations is also described along with the activities that kept her active fighting for equal rights.
Topic: Stanton, Elizabeth Cady,--1815-1902
Language: English
Lexile: 1270

Votes for Women - Suffrage Pictures, 1850-1920

Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony  LC-USZ61-791

This Library of Congress web site features images from the women's suffrage period of 1850 - 1920, when women were striving for the right to vote. You'll find portraits of key figures in the suffrage movement, such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, photographs of parades, picketing, cartoons, and a photo of men peering into the window of the National Anti-Suffrage Association. There's a timeline depicting One Hundred Years toward Suffrage, beginning with Abigail Adams' note to her husband, John, in 1776 to Remember the Ladies as he works on the Declaration of Independence. Of course, the Declaration states, all men are created equal!
Topic: Women--Suffrage, Women's suffrage--United States
Language: English
Lexile: 950    

The Nineteenth Amendment
In 1920 women were granted the right to vote after the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment. This unit examines the significance of the amendment and the women suffrage movement that led to this day. It provides you with three articles that tell the stories of women's struggles and a collection of primary sources. These sources include find images, official documents, and letters, maps, newspaper articles, and photographs related to women's suffrage and the Nineteenth Amendment.
Topic: 19th Amendment
Language: English
Lexile: 1510
Primary Source Material: http://www.virginiamemory.com

Women's Suffrage
Women's Suffrage is a primary source set of classroom materials provided by the Library of Congress that help you gain a deeper understanding of women's fight for the right to vote in America. All of the primary sources belonging to the set are accessible from the opening page and include photographs, sheet music, sound files, letters, and maps. Once you select any of the more than twenty documents to view you will have the option of learning what is known about the item.
Topic: Women--Suffrage--United States   Language: English    Lexile: 970  Image collection  Music     Primary Source Material     http://www.loc.gov

Prison Reform

Prison Reform
A complete discussion on prison reform is clearly presented in four sections. The document first addresses the history of imprisonment, and continues with a lengthier section on the theory of prisoner treatment. The origins of penology help to understand the penal law and its fundamental principles. This particular discussion is followed by the rationalization of how these concepts lead the way to the modern system that we are familiar with today. No additional information or links are offered.
Topic: Prison reform
Language: English
Lexile: 1270

The History of the Correctional Association of New York
Culled from the archives of the Correctional Association of New York, Ilan K. Reich's A Citizen Crusade for Prison Reform traces the organization's 150-year history working to develop a humane criminal justice system. Reich pinpoints the beginning: On December 6, 1844, New York State Supreme Court Justice John W. Edmonds and sixty other gentlemen call[ed] on the public to form a voluntary society known as the Prison Association of New York. Excerpts and images from the book are reproduced at this site, which can be navigated from the bottom of each page.
Topic: Prison reform, Crime--History--19th century
Language: English
Lexile: 1430

Juvenile Justice History
This article on juvenile justice in America is one of the resources published by the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice. Illustrated with photographs, this site describes the major social issues in the late nineteenth century that called attention to the need for special treatment of youth offenders. The material explains the development of houses of refuge or training/industrial schools offering social and educational programs designed to improve the future of children who were tried and sentenced in adult or juvenile courts. Theories of social reform and changing attitudes on the effectiveness of the juvenile justice system are also discussed.
Topic: Juvenile justice, Prison reform, Correctional institutions, Prisoners--Education
Language: English   
Lexile: 1440


Ask a Scholar: Pragmatism in Education
Although they each had different names for their philosophies, three philosophers at the dawn of the 20th century became known as the pragmatists. John Dewey focused on education, championing concepts like inquiry and experimentation. Instead of searching for certainty, pragmatism focuses on working answers to problems. Inquiry is self-sustaining, with discoveries leading to more questions. The standards and accountability dominating contemporary education today prevent the inclusion of much pragmatic inquiry. Student interests are considered superfluous to education.
Topic: Pragmatism
Language: English
Lexile: 1260

Utopian Society

America and the Utopian Dream
"Between 1831 and 1844, William Miller – a Baptist preacher and former army captain in the War of 1812 – launched the “Great Second Advent Awakening.” 

Mass Moments: Alcott Family Arrives at Fruitlands
"...The Transcendentalist philosophers Bronson Alcott and Charles Lane were bringing their families
to start a utopian community they would call "Fruitlands..."

History of Fruitlands and The English Reformers | transcendentalism ...
While they insisted that reform began with the individual, they considered themselves already reformed
and contemplated the idea of a utopian community.


Temperance Movement
Convinced that it was causing many Americans to live in an immoral manner, virtuous citizens attempted to outlaw and limit the use of alcohol in the 19th
and early 20th centuries. Advocates of temperance joined temperance societies by the thousands to educate the public about the evils of alcohol. Consider why many of the advocates were women as you learn about the arguments they used for speaking out on the issue. Examine the role of industrialization and urbanization in bringing the problems of alcohol to public attention. Become familiar with constitutional amendments related to the prohibition of alcohol.
Topic: Temperance
Language: English
Lexile: 1130
Encyclopedia  http://www.ohiohistorycentral.org

Temperance and Prohibition
You can explore these collections of primary sources and historical information and learn about the temperance and prohibition movement in the United States. These collections include photos, essays, articles, documents, political cartoons, personal accounts, and other writings. The collections include information on the brewing industry and prohibition, the womenâs crusade of 1873 to 1874, the Anti-Saloon League, and old time saloons. You will learn about this time period from the perspectives of those who supported prohibition and those who did not.
Topic: Prohibition, Temperance, Liquor laws
Language: English
Lexile: BR

The Volstead Act and Related Prohibition Documents
Travel back in time to the Prohibition Era using this page from the U.S. National Archives. Trace the Eighteenth Amendment’s origins starting with the temperance movement, and follow its evolution through the American Temperance Society and anti-Saloon League. Find out what demographics were the strongest supporters of prohibition and why. Examine what the Eighteenth Amendment actually banned, observe its initial success, witness its unforeseen byproducts, and ponder the trouble with enforcing this law. Also, follow links in the right column for scans of the original documents.
Topic: 18th Amendment
Language: English
Lexile: 1160
Primary Source Material: http://www.archives.gov