How Social Reforms Were Influenced by the Second Great Awakening

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AP US History Roots of Social Reform From the late eighteenth century until the middle of the nineteenth century, the Second Great Awakening swept over America to revive the religious values of settlers that they had seemed to have lost. During this movement, thousands were influenced to convert to new sects of Christianity, joining groups such as the Baptists and the Methodists, whereas dissatisfied others went on to create their own doctrines and start new ways of faith, such as the Mormons. Many, in their encouragement gained from the revival, were reminded of their religious morals and how it was their duty to use such morals to improve their lives by ridding injustice and suffering. Through the newfound desire to reform their country, Americans began to make attempts at improving their society by working to limit alcohol consumption, abolish slavery, and establish women’s rights. In trying to limit alcohol consumption in America, the temperance movement was an effort by to not only limit consumption, but to encourage complete abstinence from alcohol. The movement was mostly by women with children who were hurt by the effects of alcohol abuse by men. Though mostly begun due to the abuse a number of women suffered when husbands returned home drunk, it transformed into a more popular of a movement as alcohol became the blame for most of the issues in society, such as the crime rate, poverty levels, and declining health in a number of people. With the help of large organizations and powerful leaders such as Susan B. Anthony, Frances E. Willard and Carrie Nation, the movement spread and became heard throughout America. However, the temperance movement could not have possibly become such a large movement, with the thousands of groups and organizations that formed under it, without the influence of the religious awakening that was occurring in it’s midst.

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