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The Brief American Pageant , Sixth Edition
David M. Kennedy, Stanford University
Lizabeth Cohen, Harvard University
Thomas A. Bailey
Mel Piehl, Valparaiso University
Suggested Lecture Topics
Chapter 15
Developing The Chapter: Suggested Lecture Or Discussion Topics

  • Explain the revivals of the Second Great Awakening and their broad cultural implications. Emphasize how the spirit of social reform grew out of individual conversion, and how religious change was linked to the wider democratic movements in American society.

    REFERENCES: Nathan Hatch, The Democratization of American Christianity (1989); Robert Abzug, Cosmos Crumbling: American Reform and the Religious Imagination (1994).

  • Examine the nature of the nineteenth-century family and its relation to society, stressing particularly how the "cult of domesticity" and women's "separate sphere" gave women a specially defined role in society. Examine how some female reformers began to advocate their own rights as well as the betterment of others.

    REFERENCE: Carl Degler, At Odds: Women and the Family in America from the Revolution to the Present (1980).

  • Examine the early women's movement as one of the most important reforms and explain the obstacles it faced. Show the relationship between women's growing activism and the broader reforms of the antebellum era.

    REFERENCE: Lori Ginzburg, Women and the Work of Benevolence (1990).

  • Explore the "perfectionist" and "utopian" quality of early American culture, as revealed in both the utopian communal experiments and philosophical movements like transcendentalism. Point out the involvement of many writers in reform movements and experiments like Brook Farm.

    REFERENCE: Anne C. Rose, Transcendentalism as a Social Movement, 1830-1850 (1981).