Second Great Awakening Vs. The Temperance Movement

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America from 1820-1860 exhibited many changes and featured conflicts from the optimistic point of view in society and the pessimistic view in society. During this time, people were inspired to improve themselves and society due to the Second Great Awakening, a revival in America which caused many to return to God and the church. The Second Great Awakening brought about people who believed in equality and were accepting of different races or the opposite gender and the disagreements arose between optimists who believed that humans at the core are good, and those who were pessimists and believed that humans were bad and needed to be controlled. Specifically, this conflict was evident in the struggle for free education, temperance, and women’s …show more content…
After the Revolutionary War, alcohol was a facet of everyday life. One reason for this was that many times it was considered safer to drink fermented beverages such as alcohol, instead of water, which oftentimes was contaminated. In fact, alcohol was so popular that people often paid their employees with it in addition to money. The idea of abstaining partially or fully from alcohol came from the Second Great Awakening and the return to religion and was started by people who believed that Americans were living immorally because of their alcohol consumption. They believed that God would no longer bless or protect America if its inhabitants continued to sin and live immorally. The protestant church was very supportive of this movement too because they believed that alcohol hurt the family. Their reasoning behind it was that men, who on average drank three times more than the average man drinks today, could not support their families if they were drunk and unable to operate all the time. These reasons for the Temperance Movement come from a pessimistic view of human nature, seeing as how the ones in favor of this law were doing it to control people who they believed would act wrongfully or immorally without such laws and restrictions. They focused on the negative effects of alcohol and the negative decisions it …show more content…
Many people such as Henry Bernard fought successfully for free public education, but despite this many kids still were not enrolled in school, most females and black people were not allowed in these public schools, and many of the teachers were barely able to read and were not qualified to teach. Temperance was started because of the pessimistic view people had towards human nature. It began as a way to control people and in turn make our country moral and the family unit stronger. But the focus eventually shifted from that to self-improvement and people used the Temperance Movement as a catalyst to improving their lives. Finally, the women's rights movement was started by women who believed that women were treated unfairly and could do the same things as men. As people became more sensitive to other social groups and social movements due to the Second Great Awakening, even some men began to support the women's rights movement. But the pessimistic male view, which dominated the government and politics, did not agree with the arguments made by the women’s rights and suffrage movements and pushed them to the side, showing itself in the fact that women were not allowed to vote until 1920. The two opposite sides of human nature fought against each other, but no side gained a clear advantage because none of these three specific aspects of this period was

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