Reform in America






Economic Conditions of the Times

Role of Government and Individuals

Colonial (Great Awakening)

Pious Christian leaders

-Puritan minister John Edwards believed in salvation through good works

-George Whitefield promoted his message of human helplessness and divine omnipotence

Core message was that anyone could be saved and that people could make decisions that would affect their afterlife

-Known as “new lights”

-split up Congregationalists and Presbyterians


-the two “established churches, Anglican and Congregational were tax-supported, but less people were going to church at this time

-Parliament was passing acts to make sure the colonies only did trading with them

-The emphasis on direct, emotive spirituality seriously undermined the older clergy.

-united Americans (first mass movement)

-British officials tried to institute the Anglican Church, but ran into colonial opposition

1930s New Deal

Franklin Roosevelt

Believed that the government needed to take action on the poverty and unemployment from the Great Depression, so the New Deal provided relief to individuals through various agencies



-in the midst of the Great Depression, the stock market crash of 1929 (Black Tuesday)

-banking crises fixed by Emergency Banking Relief Act of 1933

-Hundred Days members cranked our tons of remedial legislation

-Roosevelt aimed for 3 R’s: relief, recovery, and reform

1960s Great Society

Lyndon B. Johnson

The goal was to end poverty in the US.

-New Dealish economic and welfare measures



-Vietnam War was becoming increasingly costly, diverting billions of dollars that could have been used for antipoverty programs

-cycle of poverty proved to be too difficult to break in short period of time

-“War on Poverty”

-Johnson and Congress aided education, provided medical care for the elderly and indigent, provided immigration reform, and passed a new voting rights bill

-Martin Luther King contributed to the Civil Rights Movement for equality

1900-1915 Progressives

-John Dewey: leery of American involvement in war

-many women such as Florence Kelley and Jane Addams



-middle class

Disagreed with rapid industrialism, political corruption, and unplanned urbanization.

-no more laissez-faire

-middle class


-During the Gilded Age, the industrial output grew with no government regulation which became clear could be harmful

-millionaire class

-political bosses ruling over the unemployed

-Jane Addams created settlement houses such as the Hull House for women in cities

-Muller vs. Oregon gave women special protection in work

 Reform in America

The New Deal and Great Society programs have many similarities including that they both stood against poverty and were supported and promoted by Democrats and liberals, mostly due to the fact that many of the Great Society ideas were adopted from the New Deal campaign.  A difference though, would be that the New Deal was much more successful because at the time of the Great Society, the Vietnam War was going on, so most of the effort was put into that.  The Progressive movement supports both of these programs for the most part, but it unfortunately led to a rise in conservatism, which was the opposite of what all of these programs supported.  Similarities between the Great Awakening and the Progressive movement are that the supporters believed in freedom.  The Christian leaders believed that a person’s decisions were what determined their fate, and the muckrakers believed in freedom of press so that they could print the nation’s wrongs in hopes of them being fixed.