America In The 1800's Essay

943 words - 4 pages

The early 1800's were a time of continuing change for the United States. Scenes like the ones witnessed in Cane Ridge, Kentucky were seen all around the country. New cities and the transportation revolution had left the people with stirred up emotions and hopes for the future. People struggled to find definition for their lives in the turmoil of the changing nation by concentrating their energies on things such as religious, social, and political movements. American's longing for a reformed religion spurred the creation of the Second Great Awakening. The new churches were less formal than their predecessors were. Added to the usual church "rituals" were things such as circuit riders, which were traveling ministers, that gave sermons to groups like the one in Cane Ridge. The sermons were more personalized, dealing with aspects of the people's lives and designed to help people achieve their goals with a regimen of prayer and handwork that appealed to many. The fanaticism with religion grew stronger as preachers like Charles Grandison Finney handed Americans the task of perfecting the nation.Fervent religions call to perfect America led to the development of a variety of social groups that wanted to approach the goal in different forms. Shakers and Mormons found that they needed to move away from mainstream America to achieve their goal. Though opposition was to be expected, women formed their own groups in order to express their views. A major movement, though short-lived, was the temperance movement, which was against the consumption of alcohol because of the many evils, such as crime and insanity, which it led to. It was one of the first organized reform movements in the United States. States such as Maine and Tennessee passed strong laws forbidding liquor and the success of those states and others encouraged the nation to tackle bigger and "more evil" problems such as slavery. The issue of slavery had been around even before the revolution but few states had done much to help it. Slaves were not permitted in states north of the Ohio River by the Northwest Ordinance, but it was not a battle that most citizens were inclined to fight. By 1829, reformers like David Walker were calling for the abolition of slavery and the immediate emancipation of all slaves. William Lloyd Garrison, who published a newspaper entitled "The Liberator", and his supporters founded the American Anti-Slavery Society in 1833 in Philadelphia. They planned to abolish slavery by stirring the citizen's sympathies in favor of the slaves. Escaped slaves became the main speakers for the society and Frederick Douglass was introduced to the American public. Sojourner Truth was also an escaped slave that spoke frequently. Though the fight for emancipation did not die, the American Anti-Slavery Society...

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