Danielle & Sarah                                                        Identity


The Great Awakening

Date: 1730’s/1740’s

Summary: The Great Awakening started when pastor Johnathan Edwards preached about the fault in the idea that you could get salvation by doing good works and painted vivid pictures of hell. This style of preaching inspired other pastors such as George Whitefield who spread these new ideas throughout the colonies. This caused the separation between “old lights” that clung to the old ideas of religion versus the “new lights” who readily embraced this new change. Other changes that occurred due to this religious revolution were that it caused some people to convert to Baptism and other more emotional religions, it undermined the old clergy, increased churches competitiveness, resulted in more missionary work, the founding of “new light” higher education, and in general broke down sectional and denominational boundaries, uniting Americans as a whole.

Connection To Theme: The Great Awakening changed the identity of religion for Americans and reignited their excitement for religion and brought the American people together.

Cult of Domesticity

Date: 1800’s

Summary: The Cult of Domesticity was the widespread notion that “glorified the customary functions of the home maker” (pg. 325) It gave married women an increased moral power which let them make more decisions that changed the idea of family for the American people entirely. This change in womens roles brought about more and more marriages that were brought by love rather than an arrangement making families closer knit. Families grew smaller and lower birth rates made it easier for parents to indulge them individually but it did not mean that they didn’t punish their children when needed. The Cult of Domesticity created the ideal for the modern family and raised people to be more independent and allowed women’s domestic talents to thrive.

Connection To Theme: The Cult of Domesticity changed women’s roles entirely by giving them a larger role in their families and in turn created a closer knit child centered environment based more on love rather than arrangement.

Irish Immigrants

Date: 1830’s-1870’s

Summary: Originally a large famine caused a massive immigration of the Irish. They settled largely in New York and Boston where they were regarded by the older crop of Americans as social menaces. They took jobs as kitchen maids and canal and railroad workers due to the fact that they weren’t welcome to many other job opportunities. Societies were established like The Ancient Order of Hibernians that aided the downtrodden and worker unions like the Molly Maguires which sparked the coal districts started being more and more common. Although their jobs were lowly they took pride in their abilities to gain modest amounts of property. Politics soon sparked something in the Irish and they began to gain control of things like Tammany Hall and soon became policemen instead of being the ones that were carted off to jail. Seeing the Irish peoples’ growing interest in politics, politicians made certain to gain the Irish vote.

Connection To Theme:  Over a 40 year period of time the Irish went from brash low class workers and advanced to policeman and valuable members in the political sphere.




Date: 1920’s

Summary: As the 1920’s came about so did a change in the women of America. Women who had once been extremely modest were now becoming “flappers” who donned short dresses and even shorter hair styles. Flappers were a representation of the new, independent, sexually liberated woman. Previous taboos were broken and things like kissing went from being signs of marriage proposal to being a common occurrence amongst teenagers everywhere. Flappers were the start to an era of liberation of the whole nation.

Connection To Theme: Flappers caused the identity of women to change drastically. Their appearance as well as value systems made immense changes that shocked the nation.


Date: 1940’s-1960’s

Summary: By the mid 1940’s there were only 6 television stations but by the next decade there were 442 stations and by the 1960’s nearly every American home had a T.V. Movie attendance decreased and advertisers took advantage of the up and coming technology spending around 10 billion dollars annually to advertise their products. Television was seen as degrading to the public’s aesthetic, social, moral, political, and educational standards but ended up playing a large role in politics and allowed the nation to feel closer to its government.

Connection To Theme: Television helped turn Americans into the heavy consumers they are today and it changed politics by adding appearance to the list of qualities Americans wanted their President to have and allowed American to feel a new sense of closeness with candidates and the government itself.

Chinese Exclusion Act

Date: 1832

Summary: First major restriction on immigrants to America that was not repealed until 1943. It halted any further Chinese immigration to America

 As the United States grew the nations view on immigration changed. Many people wanted stricter regulations that would restrict immigrants from entering the country often because of prejudices. Immigration restrictions were formed because of anti-foreign attitudes and created a negative attitude towards foreign groups. (Group identity)

The Turner Thesis

Date: 1893

Summary: Frederick Turner Jackson asserted that the need for self-reliance on the frontier defined Americans more than anything else. He argued American democracy was unique because of the character developed by the people who settled the Western frontier. The frontier symbolized the American ideal and positioned the US as the land of opportunity. The frontier and American democracy help to shape American identity. (National identity)

Brown vs. Board of education

Date: 1954

Summary: the Supreme Court issued a series of decisions that had important consequences for African-Americans, and thus race relations in the US .The court concluded that the school systems with race-based restrictions violated the 14th amendment of equal protection. This decision paved the way for better African-American relations and identity in the US. (Group identity)

19th amendment

Date: 1920

Summary: gave woman the right to vote. During World War II the number of women in the workforce rose. This created changes in the labor force that gave rise to the second wave of feminism in the 1960s and accelerated woman suffrage movement. Women increasingly became an important and influential part of the American identity. (Group Identity)

Second Industrial Revolution

Date: 1864-1914

Summary: the US experienced a second Industrial Revolution that transformed the nation into one of the world’s leading countries. The US surpassed Britain as the leading producer of coal and iron by developing the assembly line. Hard work also became a key American value as industry expanded. The concept of the “American Dream” of working hard to gain economic success gained prominence and became a large part of the American identity.