(from Catholic teachings)
(Individualism) Considered historically and in relation to the amount of attention that it receives, the most important form of individualism is that which is called political. It varies in degree from pure anarchism to the theory that the State's only proper functions are to maintain order and enforce contracts. In ancient Greece and Rome, political theory and practice were anti-individualistic; for they considered and made the State the supreme good, an end in itself, to which the individual was a mere means.
Directly opposed to this conception was the Christian teaching that the individual soul had an independent and indestructible value, and that the State was only a means, albeit a necessary means, to individual welfare. Throughout the Middle Ages, therefore, the ancient theory was everywhere rejected. Nevertheless the prevailing theory and practice were far removed from anything that could be called individualism.
or..... from online United States History
Protestantism shaped the views of the vast majority of Americans in the antebellum years. The influence of religion only intensified during the decades before the Civil War, as religious camp meetings spread the word that people could bring about their own salvation, a direct contradiction to the Calvinist doctrine of predestination. Alongside this religious fervor, transcendentalists advocated a more direct knowledge of the self and an emphasis on individualism. The writers and thinkers devoted to transcendentalism, as well as the reactions against it, created a trove of writings, an outpouring that has been termed the American Renaissance.
THE SECOND GREAT AWAKENING
An engraving depicts a Methodist camp meeting. Listeners sit, stand, and recline in a large outdoor area; trees and tents are visible in the background. On a central stage, a preacher enthusiastically addresses the crowd, with an arm raised.
The reform efforts of the antebellum era sprang from the Protestant revival fervor that found expression in what historians refer to as the Second Great Awakening. (The First Great Awakening of evangelical Protestantism had taken place in the 1730s and 1740s.) The Second Great Awakening emphasized an emotional religious style in which sinners grappled with their unworthy nature before concluding that they were born again, that is, turning away from their sinful past and devoting themselves to living a righteous, Christ-centered life. This emphasis on personal salvation, with its rejection of predestination (the Calvinist concept that God selected only a chosen few for salvation), was the religious embodiment of the Jacksonian celebration of the individual. Itinerant ministers preached the message of the awakening to hundreds of listeners at outdoors revival meetings.