A spiritual fever swept across America during the first half of the 1800s. The Second Great Awakening raised issues and brought about consequences that we continue to feel today. Those same years saw the rise of Transcendentalism, a less popular but enduringly influential spiritual and literary movement that was given voice by Emerson and Thoreau, two strikingly original American writers. A profoundly democratic and democratizing movement, the Second Great Awakening leveled church hierarchies, provided African-American slaves with a theology of liberation, created public space for women to act and lead, and spurred abolitionist sentiment into action. Beginning with overviews of the Second Great Awakening and Transcendentalism, Hankins details the wider impact these spiritual revolutions had on antebellum America's social, political, racial, and gender matters. Twenty-four concise and informative biographical sketches follow, providing glimpses into the lives of key figures from the period, such as Transcendentalist Amos Bronson Alcott, feminist pioneer Susan B. Anthony, clergyman Lyman Beecher, tireless evangelizer Peter Cartwright, southern abolitionists and women's rights activists Sarah and Angelina Grimke, and the messianic slave preacher and revolt leader Nat Turner. A dozen annotated primary documents give the reader a feel for the period in the language of the time; poetry, essays, lectures, letters; and other sources are used. A glossary helps readers with unfamiliar terms and ideas. A bibliography and index are also included.