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.