U.S History - The Second Great Awakening – Essay Example

The Second Great Awakening: One, but not the Only Inspiration of The Reform Movement The role of the Second Great Awakening was crucial to the initiation of the Reform Movement, but necessarily it was not able to shape the reforms themselves. Simply the Second Great Awakening played the role of a determinant which paved the way for the era with an initial as well as a chance to reform itself in accordance with the pressing demands from the US society. There are some reforms –such as Call for Women’s Right, equality of men and women - which are supposed to be against the religious zeal of the Second Great Awakening. Hereby it can be assumed that it was one of the inspirations of the Reform Movement, but it was not the sole determinant of the reforms which took place during the Reform Movement. Also it is apparently difficult to establish any conforming and cooperative relationship -between the Second Great Awakening and the various reforms that followed it- except the one that both of the two movements evolved for a better society (Girard 1). Whereas the Second Great Awakening turned to religion and God for leading the society towards a better future, the Reform Movement depended on philosophical basis of individual freedom, women’s right, educational enlightenment and even on those religious doctrines which go in line with this philosophical basis.
In this sense, the Second Great Awakening can be viewed as another religion-based reform and restoration of the social peace and happiness which greatly inspired other reforms. Even if the Second Great Awakening did not happen, the reforms would occur because of the following factors: the influence of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, the French Revolution, rise of Rationalism, and Enlightenment in Europe. But in reality, the religious zeal -to repay God with good deeds in society and to live a Godly life- of the Second Great Awakening was one of the factors that inspired the reform (Girard 2). For example, the call for Educational rights was a response to the Enlightenment in Europe as well as to the religious view that God can be perceived only through knowledge. Again the Call for Women’s Right and the Abolition of Slavery were the responses to Rousseau’s philosophy of the freedom of human being. These two reforms were also inspired by the religious view that in the eye of God every human being is equal (The Second Great Awakening 4).
Works Cited
Girard, Frank, “Reforms Influenced by the Second Great Awakening”, December 08, 2008. November 1, 2010,
“The Second Great Awakening and Social Reform Movements”, November 1, 2010,