SocialChanges relatedto the Market Revolution
Themarket revolution was accompanied by social changes in the Americansociety, in addition to economic and political changes. The socialchanges in the American society were sparked off by the economicdevelopments of the market revolution, which led to the emergence ofa consumer class, as the middle class of the time. These changes wereat the backdrop of the market revolution and ended with significantchanges in social structures. Out of all the social changes thathappened, those that touched on sexuality and childhood were seemedto be the most significant to the society. The discussion on thesechanges will explore how the market revolution led to the socialdevelopments in sexuality and childhood.
Thebig social changes relate to the market revolution through themonetary results of the employment of people due to the developmentof industries and factories. The people who worked in theseindustries formed the middle class because they were earning incomethat they could spend, and even borrow to repay (Velt, Money forNothing). This created a middle class level of a society that wasmarked by a consumer society. An example of the social expenditure ofthis social class was on recreational facilities like social clubspaid for the young middle class men (Raft 88). The economicactivities marked the middle class life that was created by theconsumer class resulting (Velt, Money for Nothing). The income levelsthat increased due to the market revolution marked a significantcontribution to the development of social class levels, especiallythe middle class.
Oneof the main social changes at the time was observed in sexuality andsexual behaviors. The rise in the income levels of the people whowere working in the industries led to the emergence of extreme socialbehavior that was deemed immoral by the society (Velt, SexualRadicals). Because of the development of the middle class, thedevelopment of extreme sexual behavior was marked by the engagementin unnatural sex that was not meant for reproduction (Velt, ReformingAmerica’s Morals). This introduced a need for the religious groupsseek ways and means of curbing the emerging negative social trends.The social trends were termed vices, which were not accepted byeither the church or the society in general.
Peoplestarted engaging in irresponsible sexual behavior that was notsanctioned by the social ideals. One of them was the engagement inpremarital sex that did not exist in the earlier times (Velt,Antebellum Sexuality). The changes in the sexuality of the peoplearose from the middle class economy resulting from the marketrevolution. Because of movement from place to place in search ofjobs, families were left broken, leaving people open for sexualimmorality. According to Beecher (45), the fathers were living in alife where the membership of the society did not involve anyinfluence of the moral restraint. This shows that the society hadlost most of the systems that determine the morals in the society,leading to sexual immorality. As a result, the family, the basicsocial unit was affected to allow such fathers to misalign to themoral restraints of the society (Beecher 45).
Dueto the runaway immorality that existed in the society at the time,reform movements started arising in a bid to change the morals of thepeople. The reform efforts were led by the champions of the secondgreat awakening (Velt, Reforming America’s Morals). The period ofreformation took center stage in the United States in the nineteenthcentury to curb the unexpected consequences of the developing society(Velt, Money for Nothing). In addition to the need for reformationwas also spearheaded by the church. This was due to the developingfaith in God, as propagated by the champions of the second awakeninglike Charles Finely (Velt, Reforming America’s Morals). It is forthis reason that religion played a significant part in trying toinfluence the society to reform and embrace good morals.
Atthe same time, there was a need for the reformation of the health ofthe people. The society sought to ensure that the health effects ofthe development of the consumer society were solved. In thenineteenth century, there was a rise in cholera, which led to theplacing of warnings (Cholera Notice, 1). At the same time, activistslike Sylvester Graham gave dietary advice for people to avoid certainfoods (Graham, 1).
Thesecond major social change was the emergence of a childhood stagethat was not catered for by society. According to Douglass (135),children were separated from their mothers so that the adults go towork, thereby losing the affection. The children were growing in asociety that was full of social vices that brought children toimmorality. This affected the youth in the society, which affectedthe entire society that resulted from the market revolution. Childrenwere affected by the wave of moral decadence during the marketrevolution period was the children in the society.
Childhoodwas affected by the changing society because children were prone toimmoralities because of the new social setup that involved workingand less regard to guiding children to grow morally upright.According to Beecher (44), children were neither governed in theirearly life nor instructed by religion. As a result, they starteddeveloping the immoral behavior that they perceived to be fashionableas practiced by the society especially the middle class. At the sametime, children were easily lured to bad morals because of thedefensive protection of their parents. According to Gove (84),parents were prone to state that their children were pure anddefended them from engagement in vices seen in the society at thetime.
Thesocial developments in the society affected the stage of childhoodnegatively, which necessitated the society to reform. Reforming thechildhood state was marked by the efforts of the society to containthe uncertainties that characterized the developments of the societyin the period after the market revolution (Raft 75). One of the waysthat the society sought to protect childhood is the blocking ofchildren from accessing adult realities. According to Raft (77), theromantic notion of childhood made the society feel that childrenneeded to be protected from adult realities of sexuality and othervices. This was meant to not only protect children from vices, butalso maintain their childhood innocence (Raft 77).
Tosave the childhood stage in the society, the wave of reformation alsofocused on changing the youth to reform and adopts religion. Themoral reform became the element that defined the American society inthe nineteenth society (Velt, Reforming America’s Morals). Thosewho focused on the youth saw their reformation as the future of thesociety. According to Gove (84), the hope of the society is vested inthe young people, and the hope of the society for the youth is underGod. This was the intersection between the expectations of thesociety at the time, and religion in the efforts to change themorality of the people. The efforts of the society and the reformmovements marked a significant turnaround of the morals of thesociety, which promoted a better America.
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Raft,Huck. InventingThe Middle-Class Child! Web,Accessed, August 5, 2015,<http://history.msu.edu/hst202/files/2013/04/Inventing-Child.pdf>
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Velt, AntebellumSexuality,Video,Web, Accessed, August 5, 2015,<http://history.msu.edu/hst202/avl-video/antebellum-sexuality/>
Velt,SexualRadicals,Video,Web, Accessed, August 5, 2015,<http://history.msu.edu/hst202/avl-video/sexual-radicals> Velt,Moneyfor Nothing,Video,Web, Accessed, August 5, 2015,<http://history.msu.edu/hst202/avl-video/money-for-nothing/>