Antebellum Social Movements
The "antebellum period" (1820-1860) is the tumultuous period before the Civil War, which witnessed the "modernization" of the Northern economy, society and politics fueled by the expansion of the Euro-American population into the West engendering several Native American wars, a foreign war in Mexico, and the expansion of slavery. The United States witnessed rapid industrialization, urbanization, and immigration that changed the nature of citizenship. Some people inspired by Christian evangelism sought "a more perfect union" through a series of social change movements. In addition to the intersectional conflict over slavery, which eventually drove the country to Civil War, this period witnessed an interracial anti-slavery movement, an active feminist movement, a utopian communities movement, and a peace movement. The origins, membership and legacy of these movements will be our focus. This will be a project-based course where students will have the opportunity to undertake local archival research.