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Transcendentalism, Second Great Awakening, and the Utopian Movements
Transcript of Transcendentalism, Second Great Awakening, and the Utopian Movements
It was considered a huge insult to Calvinists and Puritans, calling the church "a way to enslave mankind". Calvinism and Deism Where Calvinism believed that babies were evil ("infant damnation") Deism believed that the nature of humans was good, even babies.
Another major point of difference was salvation of humans. While Calvinism believed only a select few were saved, Deism firmly thought that everyone could be saved if they lived a good, moral life. Deists believed in a “clockwork universe” and thought God created the universe but didn’t intervene further. They also believed that the laws of the universe could be known using logic and reason, which differed from the Calvinist's belief that true knowledge was only found through revelation! A new Protestant sect called the Unitarians expressed the philosophy of Deism. They believed in a single, divine deity, not the Trinity, and in free will and the good nature of all people, even infants. They thought salvation could be achieved through good works. Their creed was rational and appealed to many free thinkers! The Romantic Movement was at the turn of the 1900 and gave expression to a growing conviction throughout Europe and America. Showed that there was more in life than what could be found through logic, and more to living than could be satisfied by material things. There was a need to balance reason and logic with emotion and spirit Romanticism Transcendentalism In America, Emerson and Thoreau helped formalize the Romantic Movement into Transcendentalism The Transcendentalists infused the Romantic impulse with mysticism. Mysticism is a belief in the possibility of direct communion with God and knowledge of ultimate reality through spiritual insight. The TRUTH of Transcendentalism truth is beyond what can be discovered using evidence acquired by the senses.
every person possesses an Inner Light that can illuminate the highest truth and put a person in touch with God, whom they called the “Oversoul”
knowledge of truth is a personal matter
was committed to development of the self and had little regard for dogma or authority. Ralph Waldo Emerson He studied at Harvard to become a Unitarian minister, then left what he called the “cold and cheerless” Unitarian pulpit to travel in Europe and talk to Romantic writers and philosophers.
This included Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Thomas Carlyle. He returned to America and lived in Concord, Massachusetts, near Boston, where he composed poetry and wrote essays. Ralph Waldo Emerson Influences Transcendentalism In 1837 at Harvard, Emerson delivered his influential “American Scholar” lecture. He called Americans in the arts to stop turning to Europe for inspiration and instruction, and begin developing an American literary and artistic tradition. He preached the philosophy of the Oversoul and the organic, ever-changing nature of the universe.
Though not inclined toward politics, by the eve of the Civil War, Emerson became an ardent abolition. Harry David Thoreau Harry David Thoreau wrote essays that have had a profound effect on modern thought. Philosophy of individualism and conscious nonconformism is expressed in his book Walden: Or Life in the Woods. He describes living a full emotional and intellectual life for two years while residing in a tiny cabin he made himself and existing in every other way at a barely subsistence level
His other work of note is the essay On the Duty of Civil Disobedience. He was briefly jailed for refusing to pay a tax that would be putting his money towards efforts on war. His tactic of passive resistance was later matched by Mahatma Gandhi in India in his resistance to British rule and by Martin Luther King, Jr. in his non-violent approach to gaining civil rights The Birth of Romantic Authors
Romanticism encouraged writing literature of remarkable emotional effects. American writers produced a dazzling set of classic works inaugurating a golden age in American literature.
Washington Irving wrote Legend of Sleepy Hollow, James Fenimore Cooper wrote Last of the Mohicans, and Edgar Allen Poe wrote The Pit and the Pendulum
Hawthorne published The Scarlet Letter and the House of the Seven Gables, Herman Melville produced Moby-Dick, and Walt Whitman composed Leaves of Grass.
These were a new breed of distinctly American authors, writing on American subjects and from a uniquely American perspective steeped in native Transcendentalism. Europe began to look to America for thought and inspiration of true quality The Living Experiment Communities were launched that attempted to set up a Christian community that followed biblical laws. Reformers in the aftermath of the Second Great Awakening sought to get away from controlling power structures, but still provide for all members of the group.
Brook Farm, New Harmony, the Shaker and Amana communities, and Oneida Colony were typical trials of utopian communes. These communities failed to thrive in America’s capitalistic culture once the vision and dedication of the original founders were gone. Brook Farm, a Haven gone to Heaven Brook Farm was a transcendental literary and intellectual haven, but it suffered from indebtedness in part from a disastrous fire and in part from lack of incentive for the members to be productive.
One rule was that the fruits of the labor of all were shared equally by all, regardless of contribution, which caused many to stop working, as they knew they would eat and survive regardless of what they did.
Ultimately, the experiment lasted only five years, but one thing that came from Brook Farm was the motto "Plain living and high thinking". This was the basis for Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel The Blithedale Romance. The Shaker Community Shakes Things Up The Shaker Community was founded by an Englishwoman, Ann Lee, who came to America in 1774. The community practiced strict sexual abstinence, since they believed the Christian millennium was imminent and saw no reason to perpetuate the human race. Ann Lee died in 1784, but the sect continued to prosper on the strength of its fervent and joyful religious life.
They admired simplicity and made an art of designing buildings and furniture of distinctive, harmonious beauty. By the 1830s, there were 20 Shaker communities, and by 1840 the Shakers had a membership of about six thousand people. They existed for another 100 years, though dwindling slowly. Their rule of celibacy and communal holding of property discouraged new converts, but because of their high ideals and lack of controversial practices, the Shaker communities lived in harmony with their neighbors Free Love, Free Birth Control, Free Problems The Oneida colony practiced free love, birth control, and eugenic selection of parents. This life style was a turn off to most Americans and caused problems with neighbors. It was founded in 1847 in Vermont by John Humphrey Noyes, but the colony soon had to relocate to more-tolerant New York.
Noyes insisted selfishness was the root of unhappiness, and owning property and maintaining exclusive relationships encouraged selfishness and destructive covetousness of what others have. He also believed the keys to happiness were communal ownership of property and what Noyes termed “complex marriage”.
Complex marriage was where every man was married to every woman in the group. They shared work equally and supported their enterprise by manufacturing such things as steel traps, silk thread, and silver plate tableware. Because of outside pressure, the Oneida colony gave up complex marriage in 1879, and later, communal ownership. The group eventually transformed itself into a joint-stock company manufacturing stainless steel knives and tableware. Ultimately, Noyes’s communistic utopia ended as a capitalist corporation. The Mormons are Coming! In New York in the 1820s, Joseph Smith was visited with a vision and claimed to have received golden plates. These visions detailed a new religion he called the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or Mormonism. In 1831, Smith founded a small community in Ohio. The colony was efficient and successful, which attracted converts.
Trouble with the locals caused the colony to relocate to Missouri and then to Illinois, where in 1839, they founded the town of Nauvoo. Five years later, Nauvoo was the largest town in the state. Rumors of polygamy (adultery) and other social irregularities enraged the moral decency of neighboring non-Mormons. Finally, Smith and his brother Hyrum were arrested, and while in jail they were attacked by a mob and killed. Leader of the Mormons Brigham Young led the Mormons to Salt Lake City, where they were highly successful, but so independent that they raised the annoyance of the United States government. The government sent troops against them in 1857. Mormonism remains a dynamic influence in the state of Utah, and the Mormon faith is recognized as a major religion in the United States. Reform of the World Throughout history, reform has been a major part in our society. In fact, reform might be labeled the touchstone of the nineteenth century. The movements begun often did not bear fruit until the twentieth century, and some are still in the process of becoming fully realized. Reforms such as prison reform, corporate reform, sanitation, and child labor were mostly accomplished through court cases.
Consciousness was raised in the form of parades, petitions, and lectures, and ultimately, legislation. The test of the nation came over reform from the practice of slavery, which sparked a terrible war. The first reforms of the era were of religion and philosophy. The hearts and minds of the people changed, social and political reform became an unstoppable force
In 1795 he became president of Yale College. He wanted to counter secular trend in America. He sponsoI. Charles Grandison Finney red a series of religious revivals. In his religious movement he preached that God was concerned with the salvation of every person rather than a select few. This was a religious view that was in contrast to the Puritan views that most people in that area had.
Timothy Dwight Assemblies were made to convert people to the religious movement in high numbers A person could be saved by faith in a conversion experience. Faith conversion experiences included: speaking in tongues and convulsive fits. The only thing required thing for salvation was acceptance of Christ's sacrifice for a person's sins. The Assemblies were considered a social event and many people went because it was a social event and they did not intent to convert. When they went many people converted because that was what most people were doing.
Religious Assemblies Revival meetings People gathered in massive numbers at the assemblies and they were meant to convert people to the religious movement. Evangelists targeted women because they could influence people to convert to the religious movement. The meetings allowed women to attend revival. There were segregated revival meetings that allowed free slaves to attend the meetings. Revival meetings were a big part of the spread of the religious movement and they could have up to 25,000 people attending per meeting. Women's role in the Second Awakening Women were concerned with the spiritual health of the community and were more involved than the men. The Oneida County Female Missionary Society raised money to support the revival movement. They eventually raised enough money to support them for a few years. Men and women converted in equal numbers, but women were more involved than men. Evangelists knew that conversions were influenced by women. The new gospels emphasized the importance of women and viewed women as equal to men. It allowed women to be more influential in religion than in the past and other religions.
Charles Grandison Finney He conducted an intense revival from 1826 to 1831 beginning in Utica. He taught the belief that anyone can achieve salvation through faith and good works and people were in charge of their own fate. This was a contrast to Puritan and Calvinist beliefs. He used participatory psychology and solicitation of personal testimonies to make people convert and move towards Christ. He became president of Oberlin College in Ohio, which was the first college to admit women and blacks.
Baptists The conversion to Baptist did not affect the wealthy or better educated parts of society. It was ideal for the frontier because there was no higher authority than the church and any person could achieve salvation. Baptists believed that all people were equal and that each person could achieve salvation on their own. The beliefs were ideal for small communities and self-sufficient, independent minded people.
Methodists The established a system of preachers on horseback traveling from town to town, the practice was started by Francis Asbury. Peter Cartwright was the most famous Methodist preacher. He preached for 50 years in the frontier bordering the Ohio River. By 1850 The Methodist Church had the most members of any Protestant sect in the United States. In 1845, Baptists and Methodists split over slavery.