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Lecture 8

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Erin Black

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Lecture 8: Wednesday November 2, 2011 Antebellum Social Developments: The Age of Revivalism & Reform I. Demographic and Immigration  By 1815 the American population had increased by over 50% o Overwhelmingly white, protestant – English, Scottish, or Scotch- Irish, France, Spain, Netherlands, background  African Americans constituted 20% of the population  Native Americans were not included in American censuses  More than 5 million people come to America between 1815 and 1820  The majority of the immigrants are Irish-Catholics, although there are some Germanic Catholics o Most Irish-Catholics are entering America destitute and are hoping for a better life – tended to settle in New England (Boston, New York, Philadelphia) and settled together in groups o Most Germans are reasonably well-off in Germany but for see an even better life for themselves in America with farmland  A pattern is established in which Irish immigrants are pitted against other immigrants and free blacks in jobs, housing, status, etc.  The Irish were characterized in a harsher light than Germans o They were stereotyped as always drunk and always dishonest o The Irish tended to band together in communities and benefited from the expansion of the franchise – tended to elect from amongst themselves II. Women’s Sphere: Expansion?  For a time there was a movement of young women into the labour force o These women began to engage in labour agitation and adopt actions which started to enter them into the political realm  American born women (and immigrant women) are largely excluded from the public and political life prior to working in the mills  Public virtue became a large part of the women’s sphere in the post- revolutionary sphere  Republican Motherhood o As mothers, women are imbibed with the capacity of performing the morals of society o Were often told that the liberty of society rested with them o Women and especially mothers are deemed very important because mothers instruct the next generation of those who will grow up to become the next political leaders of the US o This legitimizes in the US female education – women have to be educated sufficiently so they can raise their sons properly in the ideals of liberty, virtue, etc  Women’s Legal Status o Non-existent o Marriage meant that the wife was obligated to obey her husband – any money or property she brought in now belonged to him o Women have no right to enter into legally binding contracts, launch lawsuits (or be sued), etc.  Doctrine of Separate Spheres o As white American women began to decline in the workforce, home became the exclusive sphere of women and work belonged to men o The women’s role in the household was not considered ‘work’ o Society as a whole idealized notions of the feminine home in contrast to the masculine notion of work and politics o For the lower classes this was hard to maintain o Men obtained their manhood and respect through work and pay o Women achieved their femininity and respect through their duty to their home and family  Beginnings of the Women’s Right Movements o Starts because women are increasingly putting their religious views into practice by joining temperance, anti-slavery, and religious societies o Women’s role in the anti-slavery society is important because it raises questions about the non-status of Africans/slaves, also raises the questions of women’s second class status o Growing sense among the white middle class of American born women that they are being discriminated against and denied their natural rights o Seneca Falls Convention, 1848  Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony lead convention  The majority of members are middle class women (some men who agree with the women – mostly anti-slavery supporters)  Important for producing the Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions – lists the ways women are discriminated against, calls for all the rights that should apply to citizens of the US (especially the right to vote) III. The Second Great Awakening  Beings in the age of Jefferson but doesn’t reach a crescendo until the 1820s  Drawing on the Evangelical methods of the Baptist and Methodist cultures  Appealed to the common people  Evangelical Beliefs o The kingdom of God is imminent o America has been chosen by God for a divine mission o The doctrine of pre-destination is considered ‘hog-wash’ – is in your power as an individual whether or not you will be saved  Your choices dictate your spiritual future  The answer lies within you – don’t have to be a formally trained minister – egalitarianism  Cool Message, Hot Medium o Everybody is equal in the eyes of
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