QUESTION

How did American Intellectuals create a national culture committed to the liberation of the human spirit? What influence did they have on the efforts of the social reformers during the first half of the 19c?

 

DOCUMENT A

Religion is the work of man. It is something for man to do. It consists in obeying God with and from the heart. It is man's duty. It is true; God induces him to do it. He influences him by His Spirit, because of his great wickedness and reluctance to obey…

…It is the renewal of the first love of Christians, resulting in the awakening and conversion of sinners to God. In the popular sense, a revival of religion in a community is the arousing, quickening, and reclaiming of the more or less backslidden church and the more or less general awakening of all classes and insuring attention to the claims of God…

…A revival breaks the power of the world and of sin over Christians. It brings them to such vantage ground that they get a fresh impulse toward heaven. They have a new foretaste of heaven and new desires after union to God; and the charm of the world is broken and the power of sin overcome.

When the churches are thus awakened and reformed, the reformation and salvation of sinners will follow, going through the same stages of conviction, repentance, and reformation. Their hearts will be broken down and changed. Very often the most abandoned profligates are among the subjects. Harlots, and drunkards, and infidels, and all sorts of abandoned characters, are awakened and converted. The worst part of human society is softened and reclaimed, and made to appear as a lovely specimen of the beauty of holiness….

Source:   Charles G. Finney Defines Revivalism, 1834 from What A Revival of Religion Is, Lecture On Revivals of Religion

 

DOCUMENT B

But of all the ways to hell, which the feet of deluded mortals tread, that of the intemperate is the most dreary and terrific…

His resolution fails, and his mental energy, and his vigorous enterprise; and nervous irritation and depression ensue…temptations to drink multiply as inclination to do so increases, and the power of resistance declines…

The prospect of a destitute old age, or a suffering family, no longer troubles the vicious portion of our community. They drink up their daily earnings, and bless God for the poor-house, and to begin to look upon it as, of right, the drunkard's home, and contrive to arrive thither as early as idleness and excess will give them a passport to this sinecure of vice. Thus is the insatiable destroyer of industry marching through the land, rearing poor-houses, and augmenting taxation; night and day, with sleepless activity, squandering poverty, cutting the sinews of industry, undermining vigor, engendering disease, paralysing intellect, impairing moral principle, cutting short the day of life, and rolling up a national debt, invisible, but real and terrific as the debt of England; continuously transferring larger and larger bodies of men, from the class of contributors to the national income, to the class of worthless consumers…

Source:   Lyman Beecher, Six Sermons on Intemperance (1828).

 

DOCUMENT C

Our Communities are families, as distinctly bounded and separated from promiscuous society as ordinary households. The tie that binds us together is as permanent and sacred, to say the least, as that of marriage, for it is our religion. We receive no members (except by deception and mistake), who do not give heart and hand to the family interest in life and forever. Community of property extends just as far as freedom of love. Every man's care and every dollar of the common property is pledged for the maintenance and protection of the women and the education of the children of the Community. Bastardy, in any disastrous sense of the word, is simply impossible in such a social state. Whoever will take the trouble to follow our track from the beginning will find no forsaken women or children by the way. In this respect we claim to be a little ahead of marriage in common civilization…

Source:  John Humphrey Noyes Outlines Free Love, as Practiced at Oneida, 1865 from the Circular February 6, 1865.

 

DOCUMENT D

"Can this be the Sabbath-God's holy day?" I involuntarily explained, as I stood for a moment at the entrance of one of the avenues leading to the Five Points, and beheld a crowd of people pressing up and down Chatham street, while the heavily laden cars passed by, crowded with pleasure-seekers bound for the country, on their weekly holiday excursion. And then, as I walked slowly up Baxter street, to see the rum-shops, the junk-shops, the pawn-shops, the groceries, and the low Jewish clothing-stalls all open, the side-walks lined with apple-stands, and the juvenile traffickers in papers and peanuts, while here and there were groups of night-thieves, vagabond boys, and loathsome, shameless girls prematurely ripened into infamous womanhood. Oh! who would suppose that this was the sabbath of Metropolis of this great and Heaven-blessed country!

Source:  Protestant missionary, Louis M. Pease from Five Points Monthly Record, May 1857. 

 

DOCUMENT E

GENTLEMEN: I come to present the strong claims of suffering humanity. I come to place before the Legislative of Massachusetts the condition of the miserable, the desolate, the outcast. I come as the advocate of helpless, forgotten, insane, and the idiotic men and women; of being sunk to a condition from which the most unconcerned would start with really horror; of being wretched in our prisons and more wretched in our almshouses. 

I proceed, gentlemen, briefly to call your attention to the present state of insane persons confined within this Commonwealth, in cages, closets, cellars, stalls, pens! Chained, naked, beaten with rods, and lashed into obedience.

I offered the following extracts in my notebook and journals…

Lincoln: A woman in a cage. Medford: One idiotic subject chained, and one in a close stall for seventeen years. Pepperell: One often doubly chained, hand in foot; another violent; peaceable now. Brookfield: One man caged, comfortable. 

Besides the above, I have seen many who, part of the year, are chained or caged. The use of cages is all but universal…In traversing the state, I have found hundreds of insane persons in every variety of circumstance and condition, many whose situation could not and need not be improved; a less number, but that very large whose lives are the saddest pictures of human suffering and degradation description fades before reality. 

Gentlemen, I commit you to the sacred cause. Your action upon this subject will affect the present and future condition of hundreds and of thousands. In this legislation, as in all things, may you exercise that "wisdom which is the breath of the power of God."

Source:    Dorothea Dix Pleads The Cause Of The Insane from The Heritage of America, 1841.

 

DOCUMENT F

Right position of woman in this State is another index.--Place the sexes in right relations of mutual respect, and a severe morality gives that essential charm to a woman which educates all that is delicate, poetic, and self-sacrificing; breeds courtesy and learning, conversation and wit, in her rough mate, so that I have thought a sufficient measure of civilization in the influence of good women.

Source:  Excerpt from Ralph Waldo Emerson's Essay Civilization, April 1862. 

 

DOCUMENT G

…I heartily accept the motto, "That government is best which governs least;" and I should like to see it acted up to move rapidly and systematically carried out, it finally amounts to this, which also I believe,--"That government is best which governs not at all;" and when all men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have…

…The American government…it has not the vitality and force of a single living man; for a single man can bend it to his will…

…It does not keep the country free. It does not settle the West. It does not educate. The character inherent in the American people has done all that has been accomplished; and it would have done somewhat more if the government had not sometimes got in its way…

…But to speak practically and as a citizen, unlike these who call themselves no-government men, I ask for not at once no government, but at once a better government. Let every man make known what kind of government would command his respect, and that will be one step toward obtaining it.

Source:  Henry David Thoreau's Civil Disobedience, 1849.  

 

DOCUMENT H

An educated people is always a more industrious and productive people. Intelligence is a primary ingredient in the wealth of nations…there is not at the present time, with exception of the States of New England and a few small communities elsewhere, a country of state in Christendom which maintains a system of free schools for the education of its children…

…natural law…proves the absolute right to an education of every human being that comes into the world…[it] proves the correlative duty of every government to see that the means of that education are provided for all…the government having assumed…the ultimate control of all property--is bound to step in and fill he parent's place. To deny this to any child would be equivalent to a sentence of death…

Source:  Horace Mann, The Argument for Free Public Schools, from TENTH ANNUAL REPORT as Secretary of the Massachusetts State Board of Education, 1848.

 

DOCUMENT I

Source:  Picture of a Revivalist Camp: by A. Rider, c. 1835. 

 

DOCUMENT J

Source:  A Shaker Deacon's room in Hancock Shaker Village, Massachusetts, Encarta 1998.

 

DOCUMENT K

Whereas the Most High God "hath made of one blood all nations of men to dwell on all the face of the earth," and hath commanded them to love their neighbors as themselves; and whereas, our National Existence is based upon this principle,…"that all mankind are created equal and that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable right, among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness"; and whereas,…the faith and honor of the American people were pledged to this avowal,…nearly one-sixth part of the nation are held in bondage by their fellow-citizens; and whereas, Slavery is contrary to the principles of natural justice, of our republican form of government, and of the Christian religion, and is destructive of the prosperity of the country, while it is endangering the peace, union, and liberties of the States; we believe we owe it to the oppressed, to our fellow-citizens who hold slaves, to our whole country, to posterity, and to God, to do all that is lawfully in our power to bring about the extinction of Slavery, we do hereby agree,…to be governed by the following Constitution:--

ART. I.--This Society shall be called the AMERICAN ANTI-SLAVERY SOCIETY.

Source:    William Lloyd Garrison Justifies Organization Against Slavery, 1833.

 

DOCUMENT L

…From the man of highest mental cultivation to the most degraded wretch who staggers in the streets do we meet ridicule, and coarse jests, freely bestowed upon those who dare assert that woman stands by the side of man, his equal, placed here by her God, to enjoy with him the beautiful earth, which is her home as it is his, having the same sense of right and wrong, and looking to the same Being for guidance and support…

…Man's intellectual superiority cannot be a question until woman has had a fair trial. When we shall have had our freedom to find out our sphere, when we shall have had our colleges, our professions, our trades, for a century, a comparison then may be justly instituted…

…In my opinion, he is infinitely woman's inferior in every moral quality, not by nature, but made so by a false education…

…I would not have woman less pure, but I would have men more so. I would have the same code of morals for both…

…We are assembled to protest against a form of government, existing without the consent of the governed--to declare our right to be free as man is free, to be represented in the government which we are taxed to support, to have such disgraceful laws as give man the power to chastise and imprison his wife, to take the wages which she earns, the property which she inherits, and, in the case of separation, the children of her love; laws which make her the mere dependent on his bounty. It is to protest against such unjust laws as these that we are assembled today, and to have them, if possible, forever erased from our statute-books, deeming them a shame and a disgrace to a Christian republic in the nineteenth century…

…The world has never seen a truly great and virtuous nation, because in the degradation of woman the very fountains of life are poisoned at their source…

Source:    Elizabeth Cady Stanton's 1848 Seneca Falls Woman's Rights Convention Speech (abridged).

 

DOCUMENT M

Sometime in the summer of 18--, I paid a visit to one of the Shaker villages in the State of New York. Previously to this, many times and oft had I (when tired of the noise and contention of the world, its erroneous opinions, and its wrong practices) longed for some retreat, where, with a few chosen friends, I could enjoy the present, forget the past, and be free from all anxiety respecting any future portion of time. And often had I pictured, in imagination, a state of happy society, where one common interest prevailed--where kindness and brotherly love were manifested in all of the every-day affairs of life--where liberty and equality would live, not in name, but in very deed--where idleness in no shape whatever would be tolerated--and where vice of every description would be banished, and neatness, with order would be manifested in all things.

Source:  A Lowell Offering Correspondent Describes a Shaker Community, 1841 from "Visit to the Shakers and "A Second Visit to the Shakers", Lowell Offering. 

 

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY FOR DOCUMENTS USED

A

Finney, Charles G. "What A Revival of Religion Is", Lectures On Revivals of Religion. New York: 1838. Rpt. in Charles G. Finney Defines Revivalism. 1834 Enduring Voices, Document Sets to Accompany, The Enduring Vision, A History of the American People, Volume 1: to 1877. By James J. Lawrence, et. al. 4th ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 2002 p. 203 

B

Beecher, Lyman. Six Sermons on Intemperance. 1828. America Past and Present Online. 9 February 2002b http://occawlonline.pearsoned.com/bookbind/pubbooks/garraty8e_awl/chapter10/medialib/ primarysources1_11_1.html

C

Circular. 6 February 1865. Rpt. In John Humphrey Noyes Outlines Free Love, as Practiced at Oneida. 1865. Enduring Voices, Document Sets to Accompany, The Enduring Vision, A History of the American People, Volume 1: to 1877. By James J. Lawrence, et al. 4th ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 2000 p. 210 

D

Clark, Christopher, et. al. "Can This Be the Sabbath?" May 1857. Five Points Monthly Record. Rpt. in Who Built America? Working People and The Nation’s Economy, Politics, Culture, and Society, Volume One from Conquest and Colonization through 1877. New York: Worth, 2000 p. 464 

E

Dix, Dorothea. "Dorothea Dix Pleads the Cause of the Insane". Rpt in. Witness to America-A Documentary of the United States from Its Discovery to Modern Times. Ed. Henry Steele Commager and Allan Nevis. Barnes and Nobles Books, 1996. p. 420-421

F

Emerson, Ralph Waldo. "Civilization" Rpt. in The Gale Library of Lives and Letters, American Writers Series, Ralph Waldo Emerson. By Oliver Wendell Holmes. New York: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1884

G

Thoreau, Henry David. Walden and Civil Disobedience. W.W. Norton and Co. Inc., 1996

H

Mann, Horace. "The Argument for Free Public Schools". 1848. Tenth Annual Report as Secretary of the Massachusetts State Board of Education. Rpt. in United States History, Preparing for the Advanced Placement Examination. By John J. Newman and John M. Schmalbach. New York: Amsco, 2002, 1998

I

Garraty, John A. Picture of a Revivalist Camp. Historical Viewpoints Notable Articles from American Heritage Volume One to 1877. 8th ed. New York, etc.: Addison Wesley Longman, Inc., 1999 

J

Picture of Shaker Furniture. Encarta Encyclopedia CD-ROM. Microsoft, 1998.

K

"Visit to the Shakers" and "A Second Visit to the Shakers", Lowell Offering. 1841. Rpt. in A Lowell Offering Correspondent Describes A Shaker Community. 1841. Enduring Voices, Document Sets to Accompany, The Enduring Vision, A History of the American People, Volume 1: to 1877. By James J. Lawrence, et. al. 4th ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 2002 p. 210

L

Garrison, William Lloyd. Platform of the American Anti-Slavery Society and Its Auxiliaries. 1833. New York: 1860 p. 3 Rpt. in William Lloyd Garrison Justifies Organization Against Slavery. 1833. Enduring Voices, Document Sets to Accompany, The Enduring Vision, A History of the American People, Volume 1: to 1877. By James J. Lawrence, et al. 4th ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 2000 p. 210

M

Stanton, Elizabeth Cady. Speech. Seneca Falls Convention. 1848. Rpt. in Returning to Seneca Falls, The First Woman’s Rights Convention & Its Meaning for Men & Women Today. By Bradford Miller. Hudson: Lindisfarne Press, 1995. p. 172-177

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY FOR WORKS REFERENCED

  • Clark, Christopher, et. al. Picture on Session of Women’s Rights Convention. Who Built America? Working People and the Nation’s Economy, Politics, Culture, and Society, Volume One from Conquest and Colonization through 1877. New York: Worth, 2000 p. 464 
  • Declaration of Rights and Sentiments, Adopted by the Seneca Falls Convention. 19-20 July 1848. Rpt. in Returning to Seneca Falls, The First Woman’s Rights Convention & Its Meaning for Men & Women Today. By Bradford Miller. 
  • Hudson: Lindisfarne Press, 1995. p. 165-168 Douglass, Frederick. Life and Times of Frederick Douglass. Rpt. in Frederick Douglass Autobiographies. New York: Literary Classics of the United States Inc., 1994 
  • Emerson, Ralph Waldo. "Anti-Slavery Addresses" Rpt. in The Gale Library of Lives and Letters, American Writers Series, Ralph Waldo Emerson. By Oliver Wendell Holmes. New York: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1884 
  • Garrison, William Lloyd. The Liberator. 1 January 1831. Rpt. in Great Issues in American History From the Revolution to the Civil War, 1765-1865. Ed. Richard Hofstadter. New York: Vintage Books-A Division of Random House, 1958 p. 320-322 
  • Grimke, Sarah. Address. "Sarah Grimke Challenges the Clergy". Rpt. in Retrieving the American Past 1810-1860. Ed. Katherine R. Gretz, et. al. Boston: Pearson Custom and Ohio State U., 2002 p. 64-66 
  • Resolutions Presented at the Seneca Falls Convention. Rpt. in Returning to Seneca Falls, The First Woman’s Rights Convention & Its Meaning for Men & Women Today. By Bradford Miller. Hudson: Lindisfarne Press, 1995. p. 165-168"The Stanton-Anthony Partnership". Rpt. in Retrieving the American Past 1810-1860. Ed. Katherine R. Gretz, et. al. Boston: Pearson Custom and Ohio State U., 2002 p. 72-76 
  • "The Stanton-Anthony Partnership". Rpt. in Retrieving the American Past 1810-1860. Ed. Katherine R. Gretz, et. al. Boston: Pearson Custom and Ohio State U., 2002 p. 72-76
  • Truth, Sojourner. "Ain’t I A Woman? 1851 Women’s Convention Akron, OH. 9 February 2002 http://www.discover.net/~dansyr/truth.html

DBQ Question created by:

Aisha Dumo
Elizabeth Djurasevic
Class of 2001

Maria Regina H. S.
Hartsdale, NY
2002