When America was left to rule itself, people were optimistic that a new order would be brought to bear on government and all institutions of social interaction. Literature, art, thought and social reform formed a unique American tradition.
Religion was renewed through the Second Great Awakening. Evangelists believed that churches were the proper agents of change as opposed to violence and political movements. Avid believers in a perfect society tried communal living with distinctly idealistic goals, convinced that someday their small fellowships would grow into larger, influential gatherings for the common good of all.
Women began to fight for the possibility of individual rights and equality with men. They fought for the right to vote, as well as problems like prohibition and world peace. They were hopeful that cures for social disorders in America caused by rapid expansion, population growth and industrialization, would work.
A new school of artists sought to demonstrate the love of nature and feeling for the American land by painting the grandeur and panorama of the unspoiled American landscape. They observed individualism, the goodness of humankind and the generosity of the universe. The issue of slavery widened the breach between the North and the South.
Source: An Explosion of New Thought
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