The 2nd Great Awakening
In the 1820’s and 1830’s, all women irrespective of their color were discriminated from nearly all universal suffrage. They were socially neglected and had no right to participate in an election or hold a political position. Furthermore, they had unfair working conditions when compared to their male colleagues. However, in the 1850’s, women began to fight for their rights, especially their voting rights (Norton et al. 408). Due to the religious fervor of the Second Great Awakening, which inspired people to create a just society, most individuals began to challenge the social set up in the United States and demanded reforms.
The Second Great Awakening was influential in the introduction of social reforms that increased women’s rights in the United States. Before its occurrence, women had no right to vote, own property, or be elected for political posts; however, this movement enabled them to have equal rights as men. Its effectiveness was first realized when Wyoming allowed women to serve as jurists. This regulation initiated the right of women to have equal employment opportunities as men. Later, in 1920, the United States legislated the 19th amendment which prohibits any of its citizens from being denied the right to vote because of his/her gender (Norton et al. 410). Consequently, the Second Great Awakening wast essential infostering women’s rights.
With regards to slavery, the Second Great Awakening was influential in its abolishment. Reformers were passionate in speaking of the injustices of slavery and in helping slaves escape from their masters. For example, after Sojourner Truth was freed from slavery in 1827, she became an important speaker for women’s rights and abolitionism (Norton et al. 402). Finally, religious reformers who had been inspired by the Second Great Awakening saw sports as a way of fighting crime. In particular, they believed that clean sports would improve public health, develop sound morals, and build character. Accordingly, they promoted ‘clean’ sports such as athletics and were against gambling and ‘unvirtuous’ games such as cockfighting, skittles, animal baiting, gander pulling, target shooting, and shuffleboards (Norton et al. 411). Their opposition against the aforementioned games led to the destruction of sports’ bars. In sum, the reformers who were inspired by the Second Great Awakening were effective in ensuring that women were no longer viewed as second-class citizens and positive social reforms such as the abolition of slavery were implemented in the United States.
Norton, Mary, et al. A People and a Nation: A History of the United States, Volume II: Since 1865. 8th ed., Cengage Learning, 2007.