What is this about?
A philosophical and social movement that argued for a mystical and intuitive way of thinking as a means for discovering one's inner self and looking for the essence of God in nature. These views challenged the materialism of American society by supporting artistic expression over the collection of wealth and riches. The transcendentalists valued individualism and thought of organized institutions as unnecessary. They also supported many reform and abolitionist movements; like, the antislavery movement. This movement was mainly found in the eastern U.S. during the 1820s and 30s to protest against the general state of intellectualism and spirituality at the time.
The abolitionists were people who wanted to put an end to slavery one way or another. They were either moderates who generally wanted to gradually get ride of slavery, while at the same time, compensating slave owners; or, they were radicals who generally wanted the immediate emancipation of slavery without any compensation. The Second Great Awakening helped lead to this in which people, especially northerners, began seeing slavery as a moral sin. The view of morality left little room for compromise over the issue. After such ideals coming to light, along with multiple rebellions and revolts, the South did not have many antislavery movements.
Utopias came with the idea of withdrawing from to society and instead creating experimental, communal societies that would reflect their ideas of a economically, politically, socially, and religiously perfect world. Most communities were either religious, secular, or transcendentalist. They functioned as a close-knit community that shared many things, created their own businesses, and/or sought to find solutions for the current problems of society. Most of these failed due to a lack of recruits or financial issues but a very select few, like Oneida, thrived.
Second Great Awakening
The Second Great Awakening was a sweep of religious revivals throughout the early decades of the 19th century. Unlike the First Great Awakening, this one emphasized individualism, self-improvement, equality, and the rejection of rationalism. With the Second Great Awakening also came Millennialism, which was based on the belief that the world was going to end. Calvinists rejected these liberal teachings for which they were Puritan and taught the original ideals of sin and predestination. The Second Great Awakening started with educated people in Connecticut. However, the preachers were easily understood by those uneducated and the opportunity of salvation was offered to all. Campus revivals during this time also motivated young men to become evangelical preachers. This worked because Evangelicalism mainly focuses on the gaining of salvation through faith rather than materialistic deeds which nicely overlapped with the beliefs at the time. The overall revival however, rose through Baptist and Methodist congregations, whose preachers' helped spread the movement. Because the teachings during the Second Great Awakening focused or morality and equity, it lead to multiple reforms, like Women's Rights, Abolitionism, Prison/Asylum Reforms, and Education Reforms.
Change for Women
Due to industrialization reducing the need for children, women had the time to seek work or participate in reforms and other organizations. With this, many women realized the real injustices that were committed when they were not allowed to participate in selected political movements or reforms, especially abolitionism for which many know women right's icons were also apart of the antislavery movement. Many women also began to question their expected roles during that time.
Reform movements started with the question of constant moral injustices again innocent people. At the beginning of such movements, reformers wished to gain a standing through improving people's behavior with moral persuasion. However, there strategy was moved to political action and to the ideas of rehabilitation corrupt or immoral institutions.