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Social Reform DBQ Essay

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As American politics and the American Economy went through radical transformation periods during the Mid-19th century, so did the American social landscape. Campaigns for social reform began popping up all over America, with Ralph Waldo Emerson stating that there was not “a reading man who was without some scheme for a new utopia in his waistcoat pocket”. As the nation progressed through the 19th century reform movements attempted to, and sometimes succeeded at, reviving religion with religious reformation and the Second Great Awakening, moving away from materialism and greed, and addressing the multiple human rights issues going on in America at the time.
Reformation in America started with religion and the religious revival movement of the Second Great Awakening. In the early 1800’s, America was beginning to show signs of going through an intense period of religious rejection and anticlericalism especially with the widely circulated book by
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“Now emigrants are selected...not for their affinity to liberty, but for their mental servitude, and their docility in obeying the orders of their priests”(document D). This is significant because it shows the growing fear of traditional and established churches and religions in America. In response to this fear, the religious landscape of America began to change with multiple variations of Christianity began to become popular, and swept across the nation with the likes of Deism, Methodism, Unitarianism and Baptism, to name a few, and draw more and more people into these various religions. As the churches of America began to reform so did the religious view on sinners, “When the churches are awakened and reformed, the reformation and salvation of sinners will follow...their hearts will be broken down and changed Very often... Harlots drunkards and infidels...are awakened and converted.”(Document B). The significance of this is that the composition of

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