Antebellum America: Society Flashcards Preview

U.S. History 101 > Antebellum America: Society > Flashcards

Flashcards in Antebellum America: Society Deck (42)
Loading flashcards...

While the First Great Awakening focused primarily on those who already went to church regularly, at which group was the Second Great Awakening directed?

The Second Great Awakening was directed at the unchurched and consisted of revival meetings about conversion to Christianity. Preachers such as Peter Cartwright held their revival meetings outdoors in large tents instead of in churches. 


Upstate New York was known as "The Burned Over District." Why?

Upstate New York saw large numbers of revival meetings, where ministers such as Charles G. Finney converted many by preaching about the "fire and brimstone" that awaited non-believers in hell, hence the name "Burned Over District."

Upstate New York also saw the birth of new Christian sects including Seventh Day Adventism and Mormonism.


Who were the Millerites?

The Millerites, located primarily in New York, were followers of William Miller, who predicted that Christ would return to Earth sometime between 1843 and 1844. Although Christ did not appear (an event known as "The Great Disappointment"), the heartbroken Millerites founded their own Christian sect, now known as Seventh Day Adventism.


Another religion begun in upstate New York was Mormonism, founded by ________ ________.

Joseph Smith

Smith claimed to have found golden plates containing a third Testament (in addition to the Old and New Testaments), under the direction of the angel Moroni. 


Although Mormonism began in upstate New York, most Mormons ended up settling in Utah. Why?

Mormonism, especially the Mormon practice of polygamy, evoked great hostility. Mormons were driven from New York to Missouri and then to Illinois, where Joseph Smith was killed. Brigham Young led the Mormons to Utah, where it was hoped that their isolated location in the Utah desert would provide some degree of protection.


What was the Second Great Awakening's impact on the South?

The Second Great Awakening had a very minimal impact on the South; it was almost solely a Northern phenomenon.


What did the Shakers believe about relationships between the sexes?

The Shakers were a religious group that grew significantly during the Second Great Awakening, and believed in equality of the sexes. They preached complete celibacy, and relied on conversion for new members of their sect.



Transcendentalism was a philosophical movement that reached its peak in the 1830s and 1840s. Transcendentalists contended that mankind was basically good, and that organized religion and political parties were detrimental to individualism.

Transcendentalists argued that when individual people were self-reliant, they could be at their best, and from such self-reliant people ideal communities could be formed.


_______ _______ _______, the author of Nature and Self-Reliance, argued in favor of individualism and contended that America should develop its own literary style and culture distinct from Europe.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Emerson is considered one of the founders of Transcendentalism, and was an extremely popular lecturer from the 1830s onward. Emerson influenced writers such as Louisa May Alcott, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Henry David Thoreau.


Written by Henry David Thoreau, what did Walden chronicle?

Walden is a record of Henry David Thoreau's experience living by himself in a small cabin on Walden Pond. More than a mere autobiography, in Walden, Thoreau describes his attempts to use his observations about the natural world to discover essential truths about life. 



Utopia is a state of perfect society on Earth. 

During the 1840s, there were several attempts to create utopian communes, including Brook Farm (where Nathaniel Hawthorne resided for a short period), the Oneida Community in New York, and Iowa's Amana Community.


What did Thoreau argue in his essay Civil Disobedience?

Thoreau contended that individuals have a duty to disobey when the government enacts laws that violate one's conscience.

Thoreau was primarily motivated by the injustice of slavery and his own opposition to the Mexican-American War. Civil Disobedience influenced figures such as Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr.


The Oneida Community, founded in 1848, lasted for decades, but was roundly condemned by most Americans. Why?

The Oneida Community was a commune in upstate New York. Oneidans believed that children should be raised by the community, rather than by individual parents. The Oneida Community's practice of open marriages (the sharing of marital partners with other members of the community) and free love were considered scandalous.

Charles Guiteau, the assassin of President Garfield, lived in the Oneida Community for a time, but proved unpopular. While there, he was known as "Charles Get-Out," due to the usual response to his attempts to find a romantic partner.


What was the subject of George Caleb Bingham's most stirring paintings?

Bingham specialized in painting the Frontier, and his most famous paintings are of evocative scenes of the lives of fur traders and pioneers, and of political activities in rural areas.


Instead of paintings of American Revolutionary scenes, or commissioned portraits, what did painters of the Hudson River School typically depict?

The Hudson River School artists primarily painted nature and wilderness scenes of the Hudson River Valley and the nearby Adirondack and Catskill Mountains. Artists such as Thomas Cole and Frederick Church specialized in depicting the grandeur of nature.


Who was John James Audubon?

Audubon was a French-American ornithologist and painter who specialized in illustrating birds. Audubon's The Birds of America was the result of years of painstaking labor to draw, in color, every bird in the United States.

Only 120 first-edition copies of The Birds of America exist, and they sell for millions.


Noah Webster's _______ _______ ________ was used as the authoritative text to teach spelling to children in American schools beginning in the early 1800s.

Blue Backed Speller

Webster, who also published the first American dictionary, used the Blue Backed Speller to standardize American education and to separate it from English education.

He also attempted to introduce new spelling into American writing, and while dropping the "u" from "colour" caught on, spelling tongue "tung" never did.


Who wrote The Scarlet Letter?

Nathaniel Hawthorne

In The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne condemned Puritan bigotry in Massachusetts.


In what style of writing did Edgar Allen Poe specialize?

Poe specialized in depicting the macabre, dark stories of crime and murder that were designed to thrill his audience.


Herman Melville's works, such as Moby Dick, Billy Budd, and Typee, criticize what American characteristic of the pre-Civil War period?

Melville criticized American optimism. Unlike the Transcendentalists, Melville's writings convey a belief in original sin and that man was inherently imperfect.


Who was America's first popular writer?

Washington Irving

Irving specialized in short stories, such as the Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Rip van Winkle, and gained a large audience on both sides of the Atlantic.

Irving was one of the first writers to write with the avowed purpose of entertainment, rather than to inform his audience.


Beginning shortly after the Revolutionary War, American architects drew inspiration from the buildings of the ancient world. What was this architectural movement called?

Greek Revival

American architects began featuring Greek columns, porticos, and marble in a style known as Greek Revival.

The White House, with its Greek columns and porticoed entrance, is an example of Greek Revival architecture. 



Temperence refers to a total abstention from alcohol.

Founded in the 1820s, the American Temperance Society equated alcohol with sin, and argued for its complete ban.


Which state banned liquor in 1851?


Although 13 other states followed Maine's lead, the temperance movement was largely overshadowed by the crusade against slavery.


Which two immigrant groups opposed the efforts of the temperance movement?

The Germans and the Irish. They viewed the temperance movement as anti-immigrant, and resented efforts to ban wine and liquor.


To what cause did Dorothea Dix dedicate her life?

Dix dedicated herself to reforming treatment of the mentally ill. Dix advocated for human treatment and separate asylums (the insane were typically housed with criminals prior to her efforts).


What prominent prison reform took place during the antebellum period?

The most prominent prison reform was a change in focus from punishment of the criminal to rehabilitation. The first prison focused on reform was Auburn, built in New York in 1821.


How did newly arrived Catholic immigrants, such as the Irish and Germans, respond to efforts to establish free public schools?

Concerned that the free public schools started by reformers such as Horace Mann would be used to proselytize their children with anti-Catholic teachings, German and Irish Catholics created their own schools.


In addition to Noah Webster's Blue Backed Speller, what text did the free public schools adopt as they began to spread in the 1840s?

McGuffey's Reader

McGuffey's Reader contained lessons designed to emphasize values such as hard work and punctuality, and attempted to instill social, "American" values in young people.


What was the first institute of higher learning to admit women?

Oberlin College

Higher education for women was still unusual. Those women who learned more than mere reading and writing were typically upper class, and attended institutions that specialized in teaching social graces, rather than significant higher education.

Oberlin College was founded in 1833.