Between the years 1825 and 1850, the US underwent a series of social and political reforms which attempted to democratize American life. Reform movements during this period of Jacksonian Democracy attempted to dissolve disunity in the social ladder and pushed for equal rights among all citizens. Stemming from the Second Great Awakening in the early 19th century, many of these reforms were backed by religious ideals over democratic principles. At the forefront of the cause, however, was the hope for a more democratic system in which there was not only popular sovereignty, but a sense of social leveling.
The Second Great Awakening was a religious revival that gave new religious applications of old Enlightenment ideals of democracy and freedom. Converts sought to reform churches and organized to stamp out sin to win the world for Christ, but at the same time also believed in redemption versus condemnation (Doc. B). Such a practice was made in effort to promote the underlying democratic ideology of equality among all, and was further expanded upon in the asylum movement headed by Dorothea Dix, which attempted to reform institutions for the rehabilitation of criminals, insane, and the poor; granting second chances and a step towards dissolving the social ladder (Doc. A). Such movements also pushed education as a means to convey moral values as social reform (Doc. E), seeking to rid of social evils such as drinking through temperance, which was linked to crime and social inequalities like poverty (Doc. H).
Slavery also posed another question to democratic principles. The emancipation of slaves was based on the idea of redemption and reform, believing that all humans can be rehabilitated and reintroduced into the world as equals. The American Colonization Society was one of the first to push for the emancipation of slaves, but also deported them to Liberia arguing that they'd enjoy a more fair democracy away from oppressive whites. The American Anti-Slavery...
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