The Second Great Awakening

Length: 295 words

The Second Great Awakening was a religiously revival but more than that it called for a new moral order that influenced antebellum issues such as public education, temperance, women’s suffrage, abolition and commercialization by the free will and individual responsibility it espoused however indirectly. The main argument of the Second Great Awakening was for individuals to take charge of their lives and actions as opposed to the premeditated destiny of human beings by God. This means that humans can earn their salvation by working hard for it, and that the time to start exerting effort for salvation is now for there is limited time.

The effect of this has two main strains – that a strong work ethic, frugality and temperance were encouraged and legitimized, and that individuals can do something to make their lives better, of righting injustice and alleviating suffering. The two strains had democratizing and commercializing effects – democratizing because one saw himself as his brother’s keeper, who by making his life and other’s life better is ensuring him salvation, and commercializing because working was equated with working for salvation and grace – indeed that some of heavenly grace can be had in this life as opposed to sinful

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Thus, the Second Great Awakening not only awakened religious values but also opened a new morality characterized by a proactive stance – in a way encouraging those without rights to believe that they can change their lives, hence slaves and slave owners sought to work and labor for themselves, women sought to gain the same rights as men as they recognize their own will; inducing people to control themselves by admonishing alcoholism and gambling and calling for temperance to control one’s base desires, and for pushing the people to work fueling commercialization.

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