Abolition, Women’s Rights and Democracy
The second Great Awakening in the early eighteen hundreds was a widespread religious revival that greatly impacted society. Its influences that appealed to emotions rather than doctrine were greatly supported by reformers who sought to improve themselves as well as society’s ills. Of these reformers some movements began to form including movements for abolition and women’s rights. For example, a famous minister, Charles Grandison Finney of the Second Great Awakening spoke out about slavery, condemning it in his sermons. In the early 19th century, reform movements for abolition and women’s rights were able to be public which illustrated the strengths of American Democracy, but the lack of voting rights and representation of the groups exemplified the weaknesses of American Democracy.
Abolitionists were a tiny minority compared to the rest of the population, even in the Northern states. Free blacks such as Fredrick Douglas and Sojourner Truth played a key role in the Abolition movement, as they were able to speak out about it in the north. They wanted to eliminate slavery to rid large plantation life and slave codes which gave black slaves few rights if any, and often forbade them from gaining any education. Some slaves sought for freedom by rebelling against their owners by running away and resisting. Some abolitionists were anti-slavery but were also anti-black, such as the American Colonization society, founded in 1817, who wanted to transport free blacks to West Africa. By the 1830s talk of abolition had disappeared from the south after Nat Turner’s Rebellion in Southampton County, Virginia in 1831 as it created a constant fear of another killing rampage. In 1831 William Lloyd Garrison began publishing a newspaper called the Liberator which expressed very strong feelings against slavery, calling for “immediate, uncompensated emancipation.” He was also a founder of the American Anti-Slavery Society two years later and...
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