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Following the American Revolution, whose victory not only granted the U.S. its independence, but also opposed the intermingling of politics and religion. This separation of religion from politics led to a series of religious revivals that swept the united states. From the 1790s and into 1840, the Second Great Awakening created a spread of religious revival. The revival influenced individual and moral discovery and encouraged individuals to pursue the knowledge of God. The religious revival movement Appealed to many Women, African Americans, and Native Americans, as a result, it led to many reform movements. While they were often hampered by opposition and discrimination the reforms between 1825-1855 however substantially led to an expansion of democratic ideals through, political, cultural and social improvements.
The reforms that came with the Second Great Awakening altered the American culture as well as democratic ideals. Movements such as the transcendentalism physiological movement which countered the spirituality at the time, and taught individuals to be self-relevant and independent. Transcendentalists, including Ralph Waldo Emerson, challenged the existing religious and political systems, the notion of opening the mind to new ideas extensively expanded democratic values. Cultural reforms also altered American religions, with the fast-growing spread of evangelical, Methodism, and baptists religions which promoted the ideas of human reasoning and free will.
Political reforms expanded democratic rights to an insufficient extent, particularly with the presidency of Andrew Jackson. Andrew Jackso increased the rights of the “common men” by eliminating property requirements for voter eligibility. Though this gave more liberty to vote, certain social groups of people did not receive such liberties. This was a lack of expansion towards democratic ideals, as women, African Americans, and slaves have not received such rights and therefore didn’t have equality, liberty, or justice. Women’s rights movements advocated for equality, particularly in politics. Women were neglected socially, as well as politically, they held no right to vote or hold political office, and were not allowed to control their property. the revival movements inspired women to challenge traditional roles and gatherings such as the Seneca falls convention. They saught the equality that was promised by the new democratic government.
Social improvements as a result of the second great awakening reflected the democratic appeal considerably. The impact on the temperance movement was high supported during this period as organizations formed to limit or outlaw the conception or production of alcohol. Primarily supported by most women who advocated aginst its danger and the negative effect it had on their families, it interrupted the democratic pursuit of happiness. Education reforms were also highly supported as citizens could not remain ignorant, reformers advocated for paid and maintained education by the public and should be given to every child equally. The democratic ideal of equality was vastly expanded with the abolitionist movement. As they sought immediate emancipation of all slaves and the end of racial discrimination and segregation. The radical movement demanded the promised equality that came with democracy.
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