Chapter 12 outline part 1 - Chapter 12 People and...

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Chapter 12: People and Communities in the North and West (1830 - 1860) Emily Freiman I. Introduction - From the 1830’s through the 1850’s, millions of Europeans arrived on America's shores. - Immigration added to the rapidly growing population and transformed the nation's character. - In a society growing ever more diverse and complex, conflict became common. Ethnic background, race, religion, class, and gender divided Americans. - The home began to lose its function as a workplace and families got smaller. - The expanding market economy led to numerous social changes and urban growth. II. Country Life - Establishing rural communities lost population as families went West in search of more fertile and cheaper land. - Religious fervor inspired some to seek spiritual regeneration, rather than cash crop profits, through the establishment of utopian communities. A. Railroads - In the 1850’s, western settlement, technological improvements, competition, economic recovery, and a desire for national unity prompted development of regional and, eventually, national rail networks. B. Farm Communities - The farm village, with its churches, post office, general store, railroad or wagon depot, and tavern, remained the center of rural life and linked farmers with the world. - Families gathered on one another's farm to accomplish as a community what they could not manage individually. - Everyone celebrated with a hearty communal feast and sang, danced, and played games. - Men met frequently at general stores, weekly markets, and taverns, and hunted and fished together. - Women met at after church dinners, prayer groups, sewing and corn husking bees, and quilting parties. - They exchanged experiences, thoughts, and spiritual support, and swapped letters, books, and news. C. Bees - Americans were increasingly conscious of such changes, and a few resisted, seeking to avoid the untamed growth of cities and, in utopian rural communities, to restore traditional work tasks and social cohesion. - New religious communities broke with tradition by experimenting with communal living, innovative family arrangements, and more egalitarian gender roles in a cooperative rather than competitive environment. D. Shakers - The Shakers, the largest of the communal utopian experiments, emphasized agriculture and hand-crafts and most managed to become self sufficient and profitable enterprises. - The shakers believed that the end of the world was near, that sin entered the world through sexual intercourse, and viewed the shaker community as the instrument of salvation. - The shakers were social radicals; they abolished individual families and elected women to led.
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- Their practice of celibacy led them to depend on enlisting new recruits which proved difficult. E. Mormon Community of Saints - The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or the mormons, developed into the most successful communal group.
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