the great awakening in america

Most twentieth-century Americans fail to appreciate the power of Christian conversion that characterized the eighteenth-century revivals, especially the. In a nutshell, the Second Great Awakening was a Protestant religious movement that attracted and impacted millions of Americans in the early. The Great Awakening; the beginnings of evangelical pietism in America. / Edited by J. M. Bumsted. more hide. Show All Show Less.

The great awakening in america -

Essay

Image: Camp-meeting / A. Rider pinxit ; drawn on stone by H. Bridport, 1829, Courtesy of the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

The first wave of the movement began shortly after the arrival of European settlers in the early 1700’s and resulted in the growth of the Presbyterian, Methodist, and Baptist churches. The Second Great Awakening began in the last decade of the 18th century and reached its peak in the second half of the 19th century, in the revivalist oratory and hymnody of camp meetings, and in gatherings of the Salvation Army, the YMCA, and other Protestant-affiliated sects.

Revivalism exerted a profound influence not only on America’s religious music, but on her language and social conscience as well. The rhetoric of charismatic preachers like Jonathan Edwards, Evangeline Booth, and Henry Ward Beecher provided high drama, and elicited intense emotional responses from the congregation. Beecher used the pulpit of Brooklyn’s Plymouth Church to propound Abolition, universal suffrage, and other reform causes. Itinerant preachers gathered huge crowds (at places like Putnam’s Campground near Danbury, Connecticut, where the young Charles Ives came) to listen to their fire-and-brimstone sermons, and to induce the worshippers to come forth with their own testimonies and be baptized into a born-again Christianity. The cadences of these speeches found their way into poetry from Walt Whitman to Vachel Lindsay.

Revivalist Poetry & Song

In these revivalist services, music played a significant role. Preachers used the congregational singing of hymns, psalms, and spirituals as a form of emotional bonding. As more and more of the African-American population became Christian, black and white music found a common ground in revivalist services, especially in the outdoor camp meetings which functioned as religious, social, and recreational gatherings. One of the most dynamic evangelist teams was comprised of Dwight L. Moody, a former Boston shoe salesman, and Ira David Sankey, a musician and singer. Together they took their message across America, staging revival meetings at which Moody preached and prayed and Sankey sang what came to be called Gospel songs. Other composers who contributed to revivalist music included William Bradbury, Philip Bliss, and Robert Lowry. Lowry’s hymn “At the River” would capture the imagination of several subsequent composers, among them Charles Ives, who incorporated the tune into his violin sonata “Children’s Day at the Camp Meeting,” and Virgil Thomson, who used it in his Variations on Sunday School Tunes.

Revivalism also acquired a political perspective, as fundamentalists sought to influence government to adhere to their conservative moral perspectives. One of the most dramatic clashes resulting from this thinking occurred in 1925 at the Scopes Trial, in which a Tennessee teacher named John Scopes was accused of instructing his pupils in Darwin’s–not the Bible’s–view of the creation story. The fiery fundamentalist orator and former Presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan, transforming courtroom into church, won a conviction. It was later overturned on a technicality, but the Tennessee law banning Darwin remained in effect until 1967.

–Thomas Hampson and Carla Maria Verdino-Süllwold, PBS I Hear America Singing

Источник: https://songofamerica.net/artists-movements-ideas/the-great-awakening-and-revivalism-in-america/










The religious revivals known as the Great Awakening and the Second Great Awakening swept through both the North and South periodically from the 1740s through the 1780s. As a result of the revival movements, many Americans abandoned the hierarchical religion of their ancestors for a more egalitarian God who offered more immediate salvation. This ethos helped prepared people for the egalitarianism of the American Revolution.
The revivalists generally did not challenge slavery, but they preached to everyone, regardless of race. The Methodists and the Baptists, in particular, welcomed converts from the black and white working population. Fearing the Christian message of spiritual equality, slave owners initially resisted evangelicals preaching to their bondpeople, but as the revival movement spread, a few even came to consider it their Christian duty to teach their slaves about the Bible.
African Americans played a major role in their own conversion, and for their own reasons. Africans brought to America initially resisted giving up the religions of their forefathers, but over the years, and with the birth of new generations on American soil, accepting Christianity became part of accepting America as home. Over time, large numbers of slaves found the biblical message of spiritual equality before God appealing and found comfort in the biblical theme of deliverance

The first generation of African American leaders -- ministers -- arose from the revival movement. George Liele and his proteges, Andrew Bryan and David George, built the first black Baptist churches in Georgia and South Carolina during the height of the Revolution. The black Baptist movement thrived in British-occupied Savannah and Charleston. After the war, the geographical reach of their combined ministries was remarkable. By 1790 George Liele had emigrated to Jamaica with the Loyalists, and he preached regularly to 350 converts. David George established seven churches in Nova Scotia before leaving for Sierra Leone, West Africa, where he founded another Baptist church. By 1800 Andrew Bryan's First Baptist Church of Savannah had grown to a congregation of 700. • Portrait of Yarrow Mamout
• George Liele
• Andrew Bryan
• David George
• Lemuel Haynes
Lemuel Haynes was an unusual black minister for his times, because in his fifty year career he preached to predominantly white congregations in Connecticut, Vermont, and upstate New York.

Although these early leaders were black men, women were the majority of the membership of early black congregations, and they frequently took the lead in conversion. Many of these women claimed, and actually exercised, the right to preach, and a large number of them were exhorters (informal preachers).





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Ken Owen, Michael Hattem, Roy Rogers, and Mark Boonshoft discuss the Great Awakening, including its historiography, its relationship to the American Revolution, and its contemporary significance.

TOPIC

The Great Awakening is a term used to describe a series of religious revivals amongst Protestants in British North America in the 1730s and 1740s. Spurred on by itinerant preachers––most notably, George Whitefield––and influential clergymen like Jonathan Edwards and Gilbert Tennent, the revivalists returned to a more hardline Calvinist approach to Protestant spirituality. Revivalists gave priority to salvation and revelation. This focus on the importance of one’s personal relationship with God challenged the organized and hierarchical structure of the colonies’ varied denominations of Protestantism, especially the Anglican, Congregationalist, and Presbyterian churches. Less decentralized and less hierarchical denominations arose in this period, most notably Baptists and Methodists. Some historians have argued that this challenge to authority in the religious sphere had an impact on the challenge the imperial authority in the 1760s and 1770s that resulted in the American Revolution. More recently, historians have questioned whether the Great Awakening should be talked about as a coherent phenomenon and have pointed out similar, concurrent spiritual developments both amongst Native Americans and native Britons.

QUESTIONS

  • What was the “Great Awakening?”
  • Why do we refer to revivals of the 1730s and 1740s as the “First Great Awakening?”
  • How have historians interpreted the significance of the Great Awakening differently?
  • Why did religious revivalism hold such appeal in the mid-eighteenth century?
  • What was the relationship between the Great Awakening and the American Revolution?
  • What is the continuing contemporary relevance of the Great Awakening?

GUEST PANELIST

Mark Boonshoft is a PhD candidate at The Ohio State University. He focuses primarily on early American political and social history. His dissertation examines the development of educational and cultural institutions in the mid-Atlantic and upper South from the First Great Awakening to the early nineteenth century. He is a member of The Junto and a repeat guest on The JuntoCast.

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As always, you can also subscribe to the podcast in iTunes. We would greatly appreciate it if our listeners could take a moment to rate or, better yet, review the podcast in iTunes. As always, any and all feedback from our listeners is greatly welcomed and appreciated.

FURTHER READING

Andrews, Dee. The Methodists and Revolutionary America, 1760-1800: The Shaping of an Evangelical Culture. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000.

Butler, Jon. Awash in a Sea of Faith: Christianizing the American People. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1990.

———. “Enthusiasm Described and Decried: The Great Awakening as Interpretative Fiction.”Journal of American History 69, no. 2 (1982): 305-325.

Fisher, Linford D. The Indian Great Awakening: Religion and the Shaping of Native Cultures in Early America. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012.

Goff, Philip. “Revivals and Revolution: Historiographic Turns since Alan Heimert’s ‘Religion and the American Mind.’”Church History 67, no. 4 (1998): 695–721.

Heimert, Alan. Religion and the American Mind, from the Great Awakening to the Revolution. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1966.

Kidd, Thomas S. The Great Awakening: The Roots of Evangelical Christianity in Colonial America. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2007.

Lambert, Frank. Inventing the “Great Awakening.” Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1999.

Murrin, John. “No Awakening, No Revolution? More Counterfactual Speculations.”Reviews in American History 11 (1983): 161–171.

Stout, Harry S. The New England Soul: Preaching and Religious Culture in Colonial New England. New York: Oxford University Press, 1986.

Seeman, Erik R. Pious Persuasions: Laity and Clergy in Eighteenth-Century New England. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1999.

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Источник: https://thejuntocast.com/episodes/ep-7-the-great-awakening/

Two scholars debate this question.

Written by: (Claim A) Thomas Kidd, Baylor University; (Claim B) Frank Lambert, Purdue University

Suggested Sequencing:


Issue on the Table

Was the “Great Awakening” a coherent religious movement or is it a construct of historians looking back at the time period?

Instructions

Read each historian’s argument in response to the question presented, paying close attention to each author’s supporting evidence and reasoning. Then, complete the comparison questions that follow. Note that the views in these essays are not necessarily the views of the scholars themselves, but illustrative of larger historical debates.

Claim A

Some scholars have argued that the “Great Awakening” never happened, but rather was invented by evangelical historians in the nineteenth century. In 1982, a modern historian, Jon Butler, argued that some writers had exaggerated the cohesion and influence of the eighteenth-century revivals, which had been regional, short-lived, theologically diverse, and of limited importance. Above all, according to Butler, the revivals did not lead to the American Revolution. Although Butler’s argument challenged historians to think more carefully about the nature of these revivals, his notion that the Great Awakening was a fiction is not supported by the evidence. When considered in a larger chronological and geographic framework, it becomes clear that eighteenth-century revivals were interconnected, inclusive of several denominations, and long lasting. A closer look shows that these revivals had the potential to be radical and posed a strong challenge to the existing social order. Although the Great Awakening hardly caused the American Revolution, it helped to prepare colonists for a revolutionary movement against the British, because of the struggle for religious liberty by dissenters. Most importantly, the Great Awakening gave birth to the American evangelical movement, a development of enormous consequence in American life.

It is true that people in the mid-1700s did not call the revivals The Great Awakening, but they did recognize that a significant event had transpired in the “late revival of religion.” The revivals of the eighteenth century can be called an awakening because even as they waned in one region, they spread throughout others. What began in New England and the middle colonies in the 1740s continued through the southern colonies in the 1750s, and revivals continued to regularly occur regionally through the end of the American Revolution. These revivals involved a wide range of denominations, including Anglicans, Congregationalists, Baptists, Methodists, and Moravians. Even though they were spread out over distance and time, they were profoundly interconnected, not only by itinerant preachers (especially George Whitefield) who traveled far and wide, but also through a robust religious print culture, which spread news of revival throughout the colonies.

The revivals can also be called “great” because they affected so many people in the colonies and because they often contained seeds of religious, political, and social equality. The more radical among the evangelical revivalists gave leadership roles to a surprising number of women and nonwhites. For example, women engaged in public speaking and exhorted groups of men and women to convert. This role for women had little parallel elsewhere in colonial America. Although white evangelicals held out an ambiguous message to African Americans—some speaking against slavery and others affirming it—the revivals contributed to the beginning of the nearly wholesale conversion of African Americans to some form of evangelical Christianity. Among the Indians and African Americans who underwent evangelical conversion were the Mohegan pastor Samson Occom and the poet Phillis Wheatley.

The revivals were also “great” in the significant challenge they posed to the existing religious and political hierarchy. The debates that raged over revival were, in part, debates over order. Revivalists also undermined the relationship between church and state by speaking against the official churches. For example, when Presbyterian minister Gilbert Tennent called for true Christians to leave behind their ministers and join the dissenting church, he was challenging the monopoly of the established church. More than anything, the revivals threatened the power of the established churches as Congregational and Anglican ministers denounced the new, dissenting denominations. This led to a split between the pro-revival “New Lights” and conservative “Old Lights.”

Most significantly, the revivals were “great” to the extent that they created the American evangelical movement. In particular, the eighteenth-century revivals led religious dissenters such as the Baptists and Methodists to challenge the authority of the established churches in several states and thus set the stage for the flowering of religious liberty. Many evangelicals were pivotal in bringing about the end of American religious establishment, such as Virginia’s Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom, authored by Thomas Jefferson and adopted in 1786 as a critical precedent for the natural right of freedom of conscience. The evangelical ethos of civil and religious liberty clearly contributed to the rhetoric and ideology of the Revolutionary movement.

Claim B

Evangelicals in colonial America had long hoped for an extraordinary outpouring of God’s grace akin to that of the Day of Pentecost, described in the Bible as a great outpouring of God’s Spirit. They found the mighty “Work of God” they were looking for when large, enthusiastic crowds began attending preaching services during the revivals of 1740–1745. But they selected and arranged the facts into a story, and thus they set about fabricating the “Great Awakening.” However, not all Americans were convinced that the revivalists’ narrative reflected a factual rendering of events. Although revival leaders concluded that the evidence added up to a “great and general awakening,” an equally vociferous group contended that the revivals were only scattered, local events not uncommon among Protestants, and that they amounted only to a “small Thing.” These critics believed that the so-called Great Awakening was attended by more “Noise” than substance and that the narrative was the overblown creation of self-promoting enthusiasts.

An important moment in the fabrication of the Great Awakening occurred in 1754, with the publication of the first history of the revivals. Written by John Gillies, a Scottish evangelical and historian, the Historical Collections Relating to Remarkable Periods of the Gospel proclaimed that the “general and great awakenings” were both extensive and extraordinary. Gillies explained his editorial method as one of piecing together accounts of local revivals into a coherent whole. He wrote in the preface, “When similar facts, that were so dispersed, and sometimes mixed with other subjects in different books . . . are now united, [and] laid before the reader in one view, . . . they may be read and compared with much greater advantage.” The facts that he collected had already been arranged to tell the desired story of a unified great awakening. In 1743, Thomas Prince, a Boston revival supporter and publisher, had solicited from like-minded ministers particular accounts of “the most remarkable Instances of the Power and Grace of God.” He provided an outline of the script that he sought, which emphasized the extraordinary nature of the revivals, including the size of crowds, the number of converts, and the nature of conversion experiences. As a result, when Prince received the almost two dozen narratives of local revivals, they bore a striking similarity, one to the other. It is not surprising that, when Gillies arranged his facts, they fit together and suggested a cohesive movement.

Opponents insisted that the facts did not add up to a “great and extensive awakening.” One outspoken critic, Reverend Charles Chauncy of Boston, asserted that the extent of the revivals had been exaggerated by loud rhetoric and “romantick Representations.” He claimed that the much-publicized local revivals gave the impression of a movement much larger than the evidence supported, noting that only one in four New England congregations participated in the revivals. Furthermore, Chauncy argued, the awakening was not “great” if measured by the changes it wrought, asserting that followers of the revivals did not live more moral lives or show greater devotion to God: “Tis not evident to me, that Persons, generally have a better Understanding of Religion, a better Government of their Passions, a more Christian Love to their Neighbour, or that they are more decent and regular in their Devotions towards God.”

The Great Awakening as a historical fabrication assumed its final form in 1841 with the publication of Joseph Tracy’s The Great Awakening: A History of the Revival of Religion in the Time of Edwards and Whitefield. Tracy, an historian and evangelical, wrote his account to inspire other evangelicals of his day to work for and expect a glorious revival that would rival the documented awakening of one hundred years earlier. Tracy’s work continues to define how Americans discuss the eighteenth-century revivals. Nonetheless, the Great Awakening has found a permanent place in American religious history and continues to evoke profound disagreements over its meaning and even its reality.


Historical Reasoning Questions

Use Handout A: Point-Counterpoint Graphic Organizer to answer historical reasoning questions about this point-counterpoint.

Primary Sources (Claim A)

An Account of the Revival of Religion in Northampton in 1740-1742: http://www.nhinet.org/ccs/docs/awaken.htm

Kidd, Thomas S. The Great Awakening: A Brief History with Documents. Boston: Bedford Books, 2007.

Primary Sources (Claim B)

An Account of the Revival of Religion in Northampton in 1740-1742: http://www.nhinet.org/ccs/docs/awaken.htm

Kidd, Thomas S. The Great Awakening: A Brief History with Documents. Boston: Bedford Books, 2007.

Suggested Resources (Claim A)

Kidd, Thomas S. The Great Awakening: A Brief History with Documents. Boston: Bedford Books, 2007.

Kidd, Thomas S. The Great Awakening: The Roots of Evangelical Christianity in Colonial America. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009.

Suggested Resources (Claim B)

Lambert, Frank. Inventing the “Great Awakening.” Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2001.

Источник: https://billofrightsinstitute.org/activities/what-was-the-great-awakening

The Second Great Awakening

By the end of the 18th century, many educated Americans no longer professed traditional Christian beliefs. In reaction to the secularism of the age, a religious revival spread westward in the first half of the 19th century.

This second great religious revival in American history consisted of several kinds of activity, distinguished by locale and expression of religious commitment. In New England, the renewed interest in religion inspired a wave of social activism. In western New York, the spirit of revival encouraged the emergence of new denominations. In the Appalachian region of Kentucky and Tennessee, the revival strengthened the Methodists and the Baptists, and spawned a new form of religious expression -- the camp meeting.

In contrast to the Great Awakening of the 1730s, the revivals in the East were notable for the absence of hysteria and open emotion. Rather, unbelievers were awed by the "respectful silence" of those bearing witness to their faith.

The evangelical enthusiasm in New England gave rise to interdenominational missionary societies, formed to evangelize the West. Members of these societies not only acted as apostles for the faith, but as educators, civic leaders and exponents of Eastern, urban culture. Publication and education societies promoted Christian education; most notable among them was the American Bible Society, founded in 1816. Social activism inspired by the revival gave rise to abolition groups and the Society for the Promotion of Temperance, as well as to efforts to reform prisons and care for the handicapped and mentally ill.

The revival in western New York was largely the work of Charles Gradison Finney, a lawyer from Adams, New York. The area from Lake Ontario to the Adirondack Mountains had been the scene of so many religious revivals in the past that it was known as the "Burned-Over District." In 1821 Finney experienced something of a religious epiphany and set out to preach the Gospel in western New York. His revivals were characterized by careful planning, showmanship and advertising. Finney preached in the Burned-Over District throughout the 1820s and the early 1830s, before moving to Ohio in 1835 to take a chair in theology at Oberlin College. He subsequently became president of Oberlin.

Two other important religious denominations in America -- the Mormons and the Seventh Day Adventists also got their start in the Burned-Over District.

In the Appalachian region, the revival took on characteristics similar to the Great Awakening of the previous century. But here, the center of the revival was the camp meeting -- defined as a "religious service of several days' length, for a group that was obliged to take shelter on the spot because of the distance from home." Pioneers in thinly populated areas looked to the camp meeting as a refuge from the lonely life on the frontier. The sheer exhilaration of participating in a religious revival with hundreds and perhaps thousands of people inspired the dancing, shouting and singing associated with these events.

The first camp meeting took place in July 1800 at Gasper River Church in southwestern Kentucky. A much larger one was held at Cane Ridge, Kentucky, in August 1801, where between 10,000 and 25,000 people attended, and Presbyterian, Baptist and Methodist ministers participated. It was this event that stamped the organized revival as the major mode of church expansion for denominations such as the Methodists and Baptists.

The great revival quickly spread throughout Kentucky, Tennessee and southern Ohio, with the Methodists and the Baptists its prime beneficiaries. Each denomination had assets that allowed it to thrive on the frontier. The Methodists had a very efficient organization that depended on ministers -- known as circuit riders -- who sought out people in remote frontier locations. The circuit riders came from among the common people, which helped them establish a rapport with the frontier families they hoped to convert.

The Baptists had no formal church organization. Their farmer-preachers were people who received "the call" from God, studied the Bible and founded a church, which then ordained them. Other candidates for the ministry emerged from these churches, and they helped the Baptist Church to establish a presence farther into the wilderness. Using such methods, the Baptists became dominant throughout the border states and most of the South.

The Second Great Awakening exercised a profound impact on American history. The numerical strength of the Baptists and Methodists rose relative to that of the denominations dominant in the colonial period -- the Anglicans, Presbyterians and Congregationalists. Among the latter, efforts to apply Christian teaching to the resolution of social problems presaged the Social Gospel of the late 19th century. America was becoming a more diverse nation in the early to mid-19th century, and the growing differences within American Protestantism reflected and contributed to this diversity.

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The Great Awakening of the Early 18th Century

The Great Awakening of 1720-1745 was a period of intense religious revivalism that spread throughout the American colonies. The movement deemphasized the higher authority of church doctrine and instead put greater importance on the individual and his or her spiritual experience. 

The Great Awakening arose at a time when people in Europe and the American colonies were questioning the role of the individual in religion and society. It began at the same time as the Enlightenment which emphasized logic and reason and stressed the power of the individual to understand the universe based on scientific laws. Similarly, individuals grew to rely more on a personal approach to salvation than church dogma and doctrine. There was a feeling among believers that established religion had become complacent. This new movement emphasized an emotional, spiritual, and personal relationship with God. 

Historical Context of Puritanism

By the early 18th century, the New England theocracy clung to a medieval concept of religious authority. At first, the challenges of living in a colonial America isolated from its roots in Europe served to support an autocratic leadership; but by the 1720s, the increasingly diverse, commercially successful colonies had a stronger sense of independence. The church had to change.

One possible source of inspiration for great change occurred in October of 1727 when an earthquake rattled the region. Ministers preached that the Great Earthquake was God's latest rebuke to New England, a universal shock that might presage the final conflagration and the day of judgment. The number of religious converts increased for some months afterward.

Revivalism

The Great Awakening movement divided longstanding denominations such as the Congregational and Presbyterian churches and created an opening for new evangelical strength in Baptists and Methodists. That began with a series of revival sermons from preachers who were either not associated with mainstream churches, or who were diverging from those churches.

Most scholars date the beginning of the revival era of the Great Awakening to the Northampton revival which began in the church of Jonathan Edwards in 1733. Edwards gained the post from his grandfather, Solomon Stoddard, who had exercised a great deal of control over the community from 1662 until his death in 1729. By the time Edwards took the pulpit, though, things had slipped; licentiousness prevailed particularly with young people. Within a few years of Edward's leadership, the young people by degrees "left off their frolics" and returned to spirituality.

Edwards who preached for close to ten years in New England emphasized a personal approach to religion. He bucked the Puritan tradition and called for an end to intolerance and unity among all Christians. His most famous sermon was "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God," delivered in 1741. In this sermon, he explained that salvation was a direct result of God and could not be attained by human works as the Puritans preached.

"So that, whatever some have imagined and pretended about promises made to natural men’s earnest seeking and knocking, it is plain and manifest, that whatever pains a natural man takes in religion, whatever prayers he makes, till he believes in Christ, God is under no manner of obligation to keep him a moment from eternal destruction."

The Grand Itinerant

A second important figure during the Great Awakening was George Whitefield. Unlike Edwards, Whitefield was a British minister who moved to colonial America. He was known as the "Great Itinerant" because he traveled and preached all around North America and Europe between 1740 and 1770. His revivals led to many conversions, and the Great Awakening spread from North America back to the European continent.

In 1740 Whitefield left Boston to begin a 24-day journey through New England. His initial purpose was to collect money for his Bethesda orphanage, but he lit religious fires, and the ensuing revival engulfed most of New England. By the time he returned to Boston, crowds at his sermons grew, and his farewell sermon was said to have included some 30,000 people.

The message of the revival was to return to religion, but it was a religion that would be available to all sectors, all classes, and all economies.

New Light Versus Old Light

The church of the original colonies was various versions of entrenched Puritanism, underpinned by Calvinism. The orthodox Puritan colonies were societies of status and subordination, with the ranks of men arranged in strict hierarchies. Lower classes were subservient and obedient to a class of spiritual and governing elite, made up of upper-class gentlemen and scholars. The church saw this hierarchy as a status that was fixed at birth, and the doctrinal emphasis was placed on the depravity of (common) man, and the sovereignty of God as represented by his church leadership.

But in the colonies before the American Revolution, there were clearly social changes at work, including a rising commercial and capitalist economy, as well as increased diversity and individualism. This, in turn, created a rise of class antagonism and hostilities. If God bestows his grace on an individual, why did that gift have to be ratified by a church official?

The Significance of the Great Awakening

The Great Awakening had a major impact on Protestantism, as a number of new offshoots grew out of that denomination, but with an emphasis on individual piety and religious inquiry. The movement also prompted a rise in evangelicalism, which united believers under the umbrella of like-minded Christians, regardless of denomination, for whom the path to salvation was the acknowledgment that Jesus Christ died for our sins.

While a great unifier among the people living in the American colonies, this wave of religious revivalism did have its opponents. Traditional clergy asserted that it fomented fanaticism and that the emphasis on extemporaneous preaching would increase the number of uneducated preachers and downright charlatans.

  • It pushed individual religious experience over established church doctrine, thereby decreasing the importance and weight of the clergy and the church in many instances.
  • New denominations arose or grew in numbers as a result of the emphasis on individual faith and salvation.
  • It unified the American colonies as it spread through numerous preachers and revivals. This unification was greater than had ever been achieved previously in the colonies.

Sources

Источник: https://www.thoughtco.com/great-awakening-of-early-18th-century-104594
the great awakening in america

The great awakening in america -

Great Awakening

Number of periods of religious revival in American Christian history

The Great Awakening refers to a number of periods of religious revival in American Christian history. Historians and theologians identify three, or sometimes four, waves of increased religious enthusiasm between the early 18th century and the late 20th century. Each of these "Great Awakenings" was characterized by widespread revivals led by evangelicalProtestantministers, a sharp increase of interest in religion, a profound sense of conviction and redemption on the part of those affected, an increase in evangelical church membership, and the formation of new religious movements and denominations.

The Awakenings all resulted from powerful preaching that gave listeners a sense of personal guilt, their sin, and the need of salvation by Christ. Some of the influential people during the Great Awakening were George Whitefield, Jonathan Edwards, and Gilbert Tennent, and some of the influential groups during the Great Awakening were the New Lights and the Old Lights.[1][2][3] Pulling away from ritual and ceremony, the Great Awakening made religion intensely personal to the average person by fostering a deep sense of spiritual conviction of personal sin and need for redemption, and by encouraging introspection and a commitment to a new standard of personal morality. It incited rancor and division between old traditionalists who insisted on the continuing importance of ritual and doctrine, and the new revivalists, who encouraged emotional involvement and personal commitment. It had a major impact in reshaping the Congregational church, the Presbyterian church, the Dutch Reformed Church, and the German Reformed denomination, and strengthened the small Baptist and Methodist denominations. It had little impact on Anglicans and Quakers. Unlike the Second Great Awakening, which began about 1800 and reached out to the unchurched, the First Great Awakening focused on people who were already church members. It changed their rituals, their piety, and their self-awareness.

First Great Awakening[edit]

Main article: First Great Awakening

The First Great Awakening began in the 1730s and lasted to about 1740, though pockets of revivalism had occurred in years prior, especially amongst the ministry of Solomon Stoddard, Jonathan Edwards' grandfather. Edwards' congregation was involved in a revival later called the "Frontier Revivals" in the mid-1730s, though this was on the wane by 1737. But as American religious historian Sydney E. Ahlstrom noted, the Great Awakening "was still to come, ushered in by the Grand Itinerant", the British evangelist George Whitefield. Whitefield arrived in Georgia in 1738, and returned in 1739 for a second visit of the Colonies, making a "triumphant campaign north from Philadelphia to New York, and back to the South". In 1740, he visited New England, and "at every place he visited, the consequences were large and tumultuous". Ministers from various evangelical Protestant denominations supported the Great Awakening. In the middle colonies, he influenced not only the British churches, but the Dutch and Germans. Additionally, pastoral styles began to change. In the late colonial period, most pastors read their sermons, which were theologically dense and advanced a particular theological argument or interpretation. Nathan O. Hatch argues that the evangelical movement of the 1740s played a key role in the development of democratic thought,[disputed – discuss] as well as the belief of the free press and the belief that information should be shared and completely unbiased and uncontrolled.[9] Michał Choiński argues that the First Great Awakening marks the birth of the American "rhetoric of the revival" understood as "a particular mode of preaching in which the speaker employs and it has a really wide array of patterns and communicative strategies to initiate religious conversions and spiritual regeneration among the hearers". All these theological, social, and rhetorical notions ushered in the period of the American Revolution. This contributed to create a demand for religious freedom. The Great Awakening represented the first time African Americans embraced Christianity in large numbers.

In the later part of the 1700s the Revival came to the English colonies of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island, primarily through the efforts of Henry Alline and his New Light movement.

Second Great Awakening[edit]

Main article: Second Great Awakening

The Second Great Awakening (sometimes known simply as "the Great Awakening") was a religious revival that occurred in the United States beginning in the late eighteenth century and lasting until the middle of the nineteenth century. While it occurred in all parts of the United States, it was especially strong in the Northeast and the Midwest. This awakening was unique in that it moved beyond the educated elite of New England to those who were less wealthy and less educated. The center of revivalism was the so-called Burned-over district in western New York. Named for its overabundance of hellfire-and-damnation preaching, the region produced dozens of new denominations, communal societies, and reform.

Among these dozens of new denominations were free black churches, run independently of existing congregations that were predominantly of white attendance. During the period between the American revolution and the 1850s, black involvement in largely white churches declined in great numbers, with participation becoming almost non-existent by the 1840s–1850s; some scholars argue that this was largely due to racial discrimination within the church.[16] This discrimination came in the form of segregated seating and the forbiddance of African Americans from voting in church matters or holding leadership positions in many white churches.[16] Reverend Richard Allen, a central founder of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, was quoted describing one such incident of racial discrimination in a predominantly white church in Philadelphia, in which fellow preacher and a former slave from Delaware Absalom Jones was forcefully told to leave and grabbed by a white church trustee in the midst of prayer.[17]

Closely related to the Second Great Awakening were other reform movements such as temperance, abolition, and women's rights. The temperance movement encouraged people to abstain from consuming alcoholic drinks in order to preserve family order. The abolition movement fought to abolish slavery in the United States. The women's rights movement grew from female abolitionists who realized that they too could fight for their own political rights. In addition to these causes, reforms touched nearly every aspect of daily life, such as restricting the use of tobacco and dietary and dress reforms. The abolition movement emerged in the North from the wider Second Great Awakening 1800–1840.

Third Great Awakening[edit]

Main article: Third Great Awakening

The Third Great Awakening in the 1850s–1900s was characterized by new denominations, active missionary work, Chautauquas, and the Social Gospel approach to social issues. The YMCA (founded in 1844) played a major role in fostering revivals in the cities in the 1858 Awakening and after. The revival of 1858 produced the leadership, such as that of Dwight L. Moody, out of which came religious work carried on in the armies during the civil war. The Christian and Sanitary Commissions and numerous Freedmen's Societies were also formed in the midst of the War.

Fourth Great Awakening[edit]

Main article: Fourth Great Awakening

The Fourth Great Awakening is a debated concept that has not received the acceptance of the first three. Advocates such as economist Robert Fogel say it happened in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The Jesus Movement is one evidence of this awakening, and it created a shift in church music styles.

Mainline Protestant denominations weakened sharply in both membership and influence while the most conservative religious denominations (such as the Southern Baptists and Missouri Synod Lutherans) grew rapidly in numbers, spread across the United States, had grave internal theological battles and schisms, and became politically powerful.

Terminology[edit]

The idea of an "awakening" implies a slumber or passivity during secular or less religious times. Awakening is a term which originates from and is embraced often and primarily by evangelical Christians. In recent times, the idea of "awakenings" in United States history has been put forth by conservative American evangelicals.[23]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

  • Ahlstrom, Sydney E. (1972). A Religious History of the American People. New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press.
  • Chacon, Richard J.; Scoggins, Michael Charles (2014). The Great Awakening and Southern Backcountry Revolutionaries. Remembering the Body : Ethical Issues in Body Mapping Research. SpringerBriefs in Anthropology. 4. Cham, Switzerland: Springer. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-04597-9. ISBN . ISSN 2195-0830.
  • Choiński, Michał (2016). The Rhetoric of the Revival: The Language of the Great Awakening Preachers. Göttingen, Germany: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. ISBN .
  • Copeland, David A. (2006). The Idea of a Free Press: The Enlightenment and Its Unruly Legacy. Evanston, Illinois: Northwestern University Press. ISBN .
  • Corbett, Michael; Corbett-Hemeyer, Julia; Wilson, J. Matthew (2014). Politics and Religion in the United States (2nd ed.). New York: Routledge. ISBN .
  • Cross, Whitney R. (1950). The Burned-Over District: The Social and Intellectual History of Enthusiastic Religion in Western New York, 1800–1850.
  • Curtis, A. Kenneth (1991). The 100 Most Important Events in Christian History. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Fleming H. Revell. ISBN .
  • Fogel, Robert William (2000). The Fourth Great Awakening and the Future of Egalitarianism. Chicago: University of Chicago Press (published 2002). ISBN .
  • Hatch, Nathan O. (1989). The Democratization of American Christianity.
  • Kidd, Thomas S. (2007). The Great Awakening: The Roots of Evangelical Christianity in Colonial America. New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press.
  • Lambert, Frank (1999). Inventing the "Great Awakening". Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press.
  • Long, Kathryn Teresa (1998). The Revival of 1857–58: Interpreting an American Religious Awakening. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Marty, Martin E. (1996). Modern American Religion. Volume 3: Under God, Indivisible, 1941–1960. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  • McLoughlin, William G. (1978). Revivals, Awakenings, and Reform: An Essay on Religion and Social Change in America, 1607–1977. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  • Stewart, Gordon T., ed. (1982). Documents Relating to the Great Awakening in Nova Scotia, 1760–1791. The Publications of the Champlain Society. 52. Toronto: Champlain Society (published 2013). doi:10.3138/9781442618671. ISBN .

Further reading[edit]

  • Butler, Jon (1982). "Enthusiasm Described and Decried: The Great Awakening as Interpretative Fiction". Journal of American History. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 69 (2): 305–325. doi:10.2307/1893821. ISSN 0021-8723. JSTOR 1893821. S2CID 59494141.
  •  ———  (1990). Awash in a Sea of Faith: Christianizing the American People. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press (published 1992). ISBN .
  • Heimert, Alan (1966). Religion and the American Mind: From the Great Awakening to the Revolution. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.
  • Heimert, Alan; Miller, Perry, eds. (1960). The Great Awakening: Documents Illustrating the Crisis and Its Consequences. New York: Bobbs-Merrill.
  • Kelleter, Frank (2002). Amerikanische Aufklärung: Sprachen der Rationalität im Zeitalter der Revolution (in German). Paderborn, Germany: Verlag Ferdinand Schöningh. ISBN .
  • Lambert, Frank (1994). Pedlar in Divinity: George Whitefield and the Transatlantic Revivals, 1737–1770. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. ISBN .
  • Najar, Monica (2008). Evangelizing the South: A Social History of Church and State in Early America. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN .
  • Tracy, Joseph (1842). The Great Awakening: A History of the Revival of Religion in the Time of Edwards and Whitefield. Boston: Tappan and Dennet. Retrieved November 13, 2017.
  • Stout, Harry S. (1991). The Divine Dramatist: George Whitefield and the Rise of Modern Evangelicalism. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. ISBN .
Источник: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Awakening

Contents

  1. First Great Awakening
  2. Jonathan Edwards
  3. George Whitefield
  4. Other Leaders
  5. Basic Themes of the Great Awakening
  6. Old Lights vs. New Lights
  7. Second Great Awakening
  8. Effects of the Great Awakening
  9. Sources

The Great Awakening was a religious revival that impacted the English colonies in America during the 1730s and 1740s. The movement came at a time when the idea of secular rationalism was being emphasized, and passion for religion had grown stale. Christian leaders often traveled from town to town, preaching about the gospel, emphasizing salvation from sins and promoting enthusiasm for Christianity. The result was a renewed dedication toward religion. Many historians believe the Great Awakening had a lasting impact on various Christian denominations and American culture at large.

First Great Awakening

In the 1700s, a European philosophical movement known as the Enlightenment, or the Age of Reason, was making its way across the Atlantic Ocean to the American colonies. Enlightenment thinkers emphasized a scientific and logical view of the world, while downplaying religion.

In many ways, religion was becoming more formal and less personal during this time, which led to lower church attendance. Christians were feeling complacent with their methods of worship, and some were disillusioned with how wealth and rationalism were dominating culture. Many began to crave a return to religious piety.

Around this time, the 13 colonies were religiously divided. Most of New England belonged to congregational churches.

The Middle colonies were made up of Quakers, Anglicans, Lutherans, Baptists, Presbyterians, the Dutch Reformed and Congregational followers.

Southern colonies were mostly members of the Anglican Church, but there were also many Baptists, Presbyterians and Quakers.

The stage was set for a renewal of faith, and in the late 1720s, a revival began to take root as preachers altered their messages and reemphasized concepts of Calvinism. (Calvinism is a theology that was introduced by John Calvin in the 16th century that stressed the importance of scripture, faith, predestination and the grace of God.)

Jonathan Edwards

Most historians consider Jonathan Edwards, a Northampton Anglican minister, one of the chief fathers of the Great Awakening.

Edwards’ message centered on the idea that humans were sinners, God was an angry judge and individuals needed to ask for forgiveness. He also preached justification by faith alone.

In 1741, Edwards gave an infamous and emotional sermon, entitled “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” News of the message spread quickly throughout the colonies.

Edwards was known for his passion and energy. He generally preached in his home parish, unlike other revival preachers who traveled throughout the colonies.

Edwards is credited for inspiring hundreds of conversions, which he documented in a book, “Narratives of Surprising Conversions.”

George Whitefield

George Whitefield, a minister from Britain, had a significant impact during the Great Awakening. Whitefield toured the colonies up and down the Atlantic coast, preaching his message. In one year, Whitefield covered 5,000 miles in America and preached more than 350 times.

His style was charismatic, theatrical and expressive. Whitefield would often shout the word of God and tremble during his sermons. People gathered by the thousands to hear him speak.

Whitefield preached to common people, slaves and Native Americans. No one was out of reach. Even Benjamin Franklin, a religious skeptic, was captivated by Whitefield’s sermons, and the two became friends.

Whitefield’s success convinced English colonists to join local churches and reenergized a once-waning Christian faith.

Other Leaders

Several other pastors and Christian leaders led the charge during the Great Awakening, including David Brainard, Samuel Davies, Theodore Frelinghuysen, Gilbert Tennent and others.

Although these leaders’ backgrounds differed, their messages served the same purpose: to awaken the Christian faith and return to a religion that was relevant to the people of the day.

Basic Themes of the Great Awakening

The Great Awakening brought various philosophies, ideas and doctrines to the forefront of Christian faith.

Some of the major themes included:

  • All people are born sinners
  • Sin without salvation will send a person to hell
  • All people can be saved if they confess their sins to God, seek forgiveness and accept God’s grace
  • All people can have a direct and emotional connection with God
  • Religion shouldn’t be formal and institutionalized, but rather casual and personal

Old Lights vs. New Lights

Not everyone embraced the ideas of the Great Awakening. One of the leading voices of opposition was Charles Chauncy, a minister in Boston. Chauncy was especially critical of Whitefield’s preaching and instead supported a more traditional, formal style of religion.

By about 1742, debate over the Great Awakening had split the New England clergy and many colonists into two groups.

Preachers and followers who adopted the new ideas brought forth by the Great Awakening became known as “new lights.” Those who embraced the old-fashioned, traditional church ways were called “old lights.”

Second Great Awakening

The Great Awakening came to an end sometime during the 1740s.

In the 1790s, another religious revival, which became known as the Second Great Awakening, began in New England. This movement is typically regarded as less emotionally charged than the First Great Awakening. It led to the founding of several colleges, seminaries and mission societies.

A Third Great Awakening was said to span from the late 1850s to the early 20th century. Some scholars, however, disagree that this movement was ever a significant event.

Effects of the Great Awakening

The Great Awakening notably altered the religious climate in the American colonies. Ordinary people were encouraged to make a personal connection with God, instead of relying on a minister.

Newer denominations, such as Methodists and Baptists, grew quickly. While the movement unified the colonies and boosted church growth, experts say it also caused division among those who supported it and those who rejected it.

Many historians claim that the Great Awakening influenced the Revolutionary War by encouraging the notions of nationalism and individual rights.

The revival also led to the establishment of several renowned educational institutions, including Princeton, Rutgers, Brown and Dartmouth universities.

The Great Awakening unquestionably had a significant impact on Christianity. It reinvigorated religion in America at a time when it was steadily declining and introduced ideas that would penetrate into American culture for many years to come.

Sources

The Great Awakening, UShistory.org.
The First Great Awakening, National Humanities Center.
The Great Awakening Timeline, Christianity.com.
The Great Awakening, Khan Academy.

Источник: https://www.history.com

The Second Great Awakening

By the end of the 18th century, many educated Americans no longer professed traditional Christian beliefs. In reaction to the secularism of the age, a religious revival spread westward in the first half of the 19th century.

This second great religious revival in American history consisted of several kinds of activity, distinguished by locale and expression of religious commitment. In New England, the renewed interest in religion inspired a wave of social activism. In western New York, the spirit of revival encouraged the emergence of new denominations. In the Appalachian region of Kentucky and Tennessee, the revival strengthened the Methodists and the Baptists, and spawned a new form of religious expression -- the camp meeting.

In contrast to the Great Awakening of the 1730s, the revivals in the East were notable for the absence of hysteria and open emotion. Rather, unbelievers were awed by the "respectful silence" of those bearing witness to their faith.

The evangelical enthusiasm in New England gave rise to interdenominational missionary societies, formed to evangelize the West. Members of these societies not only acted as apostles for the faith, but as educators, civic leaders and exponents of Eastern, urban culture. Publication and education societies promoted Christian education; most notable among them was the American Bible Society, founded in 1816. Social activism inspired by the revival gave rise to abolition groups and the Society for the Promotion of Temperance, as well as to efforts to reform prisons and care for the handicapped and mentally ill.

The revival in western New York was largely the work of Charles Gradison Finney, a lawyer from Adams, New York. The area from Lake Ontario to the Adirondack Mountains had been the scene of so many religious revivals in the past that it was known as the "Burned-Over District." In 1821 Finney experienced something of a religious epiphany and set out to preach the Gospel in western New York. His revivals were characterized by careful planning, showmanship and advertising. Finney preached in the Burned-Over District throughout the 1820s and the early 1830s, before moving to Ohio in 1835 to take a chair in theology at Oberlin College. He subsequently became president of Oberlin.

Two other important religious denominations in America -- the Mormons and the Seventh Day Adventists also got their start in the Burned-Over District.

In the Appalachian region, the revival took on characteristics similar to the Great Awakening of the previous century. But here, the center of the revival was the camp meeting -- defined as a "religious service of several days' length, for a group that was obliged to take shelter on the spot because of the distance from home." Pioneers in thinly populated areas looked to the camp meeting as a refuge from the lonely life on the frontier. The sheer exhilaration of participating in a religious revival with hundreds and perhaps thousands of people inspired the dancing, shouting and singing associated with these events.

The first camp meeting took place in July 1800 at Gasper River Church in southwestern Kentucky. A much larger one was held at Cane Ridge, Kentucky, in August 1801, where between 10,000 and 25,000 people attended, and Presbyterian, Baptist and Methodist ministers participated. It was this event that stamped the organized revival as the major mode of church expansion for denominations such as the Methodists and Baptists.

The great revival quickly spread throughout Kentucky, Tennessee and southern Ohio, with the Methodists and the Baptists its prime beneficiaries. Each denomination had assets that allowed it to thrive on the frontier. The Methodists had a very efficient organization that depended on ministers -- known as circuit riders -- who sought out people in remote frontier locations. The circuit riders came from among the common people, which helped them establish a rapport with the frontier families they hoped to convert.

The Baptists had no formal church organization. Their farmer-preachers were people who received "the call" from God, studied the Bible and founded a church, which then ordained them. Other candidates for the ministry emerged from these churches, and they helped the Baptist Church to establish a presence farther into the wilderness. Using such methods, the Baptists became dominant throughout the border states and most of the South.

The Second Great Awakening exercised a profound impact on American history. The numerical strength of the Baptists and Methodists rose relative to that of the denominations dominant in the colonial period -- the Anglicans, Presbyterians and Congregationalists. Among the latter, efforts to apply Christian teaching to the resolution of social problems presaged the Social Gospel of the late 19th century. America was becoming a more diverse nation in the early to mid-19th century, and the growing differences within American Protestantism reflected and contributed to this diversity.

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Logo American History - From Revolution to Reconstruction and what happened afterwards
Источник: http://www.let.rug.nl/usa/outlines/history-1994/the-formation-of-a-national-government/the-second-great-awakening.php

Essay

Image: Camp-meeting / A. Rider pinxit ; drawn on stone by H. Bridport, 1829, Courtesy of the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

The first wave of the movement began shortly after the arrival of European settlers in the early 1700’s and resulted in the growth of the Presbyterian, Methodist, and Baptist churches. The Second Great Awakening began in the last decade of the 18th century and reached its peak in the second half of the 19th century, in the revivalist oratory and hymnody of camp meetings, and in gatherings of the Salvation Army, the YMCA, and other Protestant-affiliated sects.

Revivalism exerted a profound influence not only on America’s religious music, but on her language and social conscience as well. The rhetoric of charismatic preachers like Jonathan Edwards, Evangeline Booth, and Henry Ward Beecher provided high drama, and elicited intense emotional responses from the congregation. Beecher used the pulpit of Brooklyn’s Plymouth Church to propound Abolition, universal suffrage, and other reform causes. Itinerant preachers gathered huge crowds (at places like Putnam’s Campground near Danbury, Connecticut, where the young Charles Ives came) to listen to their fire-and-brimstone sermons, and to induce the worshippers to come forth with their own testimonies and be baptized into a born-again Christianity. The cadences of these speeches found their way into poetry from Walt Whitman to Vachel Lindsay.

Revivalist Poetry & Song

In these revivalist services, music played a significant role. Preachers used the congregational singing of hymns, psalms, and spirituals as a form of emotional bonding. As more and more of the African-American population became Christian, black and white music found a common ground in revivalist services, especially in the outdoor camp meetings which functioned as religious, social, and recreational gatherings. One of the most dynamic evangelist teams was comprised of Dwight L. Moody, a former Boston shoe salesman, and Ira David Sankey, a musician and singer. Together they took their message across America, staging revival meetings at which Moody preached and prayed and Sankey sang what came to be called Gospel songs. Other composers who contributed to revivalist music included William Bradbury, Philip Bliss, and Robert Lowry. Lowry’s hymn “At the River” would capture the imagination of several subsequent composers, among them Charles Ives, who incorporated the tune into his violin sonata “Children’s Day at the Camp Meeting,” and Virgil Thomson, who used it in his Variations on Sunday School Tunes.

Revivalism also acquired a political perspective, as fundamentalists sought to influence government to adhere to their conservative moral perspectives. One of the most dramatic clashes resulting from this thinking occurred in 1925 at the Scopes Trial, in which a Tennessee teacher named John Scopes was accused of instructing his pupils in Darwin’s–not the Bible’s–view of the creation story. The fiery fundamentalist orator and former Presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan, transforming courtroom into church, won a conviction. It was later overturned on a technicality, but the Tennessee law banning Darwin remained in effect until 1967.

–Thomas Hampson and Carla Maria Verdino-Süllwold, PBS I Hear America Singing

Источник: https://songofamerica.net/artists-movements-ideas/the-great-awakening-and-revivalism-in-america/

To understand what is taking place today, we need to understand the nature of the recurring political-religious cycles called "Great Awakenings." Each lasting about 100 years, Great Awakenings consist of three phases, each about a generation long.

A cycle begins with a phase of religious revival, propelled by the tendency of new technological advances to outpace the human capacity to cope with ethical and practical complexities that those new technologies entail. The phase of religious revival is followed by one of rising political effect and reform, followed by a phase in which the new ethics and politics of the religious awakening come under increasing challenge and the political coalition promoted by the awakening goes into decline. These cycles overlap, the end of one cycle coinciding with the beginning of the next.

 
Phases of the Four Great Awakenings
  
Phase of Religious RevivalPhase of Rising Political EffectPhase of Increasing Challenge to Dominance of the Political ProgramFirst Great Awakening,
1730-1830
1730-60: Weakening of predestination doctrine; recognition that many sinners may be predestined for salvation; introduction of revival meetings emphasizing spiritual rebirth; rise of ethic of benevolence.1760-90: Attack on British corruption; American Revolution; belief in equality of opportunity (the principle that accepted the inequality of income and other circumstances of life as natural, but held that persons of low social rank could raise themselves up—by industry, perseverance, talent, and righteous behavior—to the top of the economic and social order); establishment of egalitarianism as national ethic.1790-1830: Breakup of revolutionary coalition.Second Great Awakening,
1800-1920
1800-1840: Rise of belief that anyone can achieve saving grace through inner and outer struggle against sin; introduction of camp meetings and intensified levels of revivals; widespread adoption of ethic of benevolence; upsurge of millennialism.1840-1879: Rise of single issue reform movements, each intending to contribute to making America fit for the Second Coming of Christ (these included the nativist movement, the temperance movement which was successful in prohibiting the sale of alcoholic drinks in 13 states, and the abolitionist movement that culminated in the formation of the republican party); sweeping reform agendas aimed at eliminating all barriers to equal opportunity; antislavery; attack on corruption of the South; Civil War; women's suffrage; continuation of belief in equality of opportunity.1870-1920: Replacement of prewar evangelical leaders; Darwinian crisis; urban crisis.Third Great Awakening,
1890-?
1890-1930: Shift from emphasis on personal to social sin; rise in belief that poverty is not a personal failure ("the wages of sin") but a societal failure that can be addressed by the state; shift to more secular interpretation of the Bible and creed.1930-1970: Attack on corruption of big business and the right; labor reforms; civil rights and women's rights movements; belief in equality of condition (principle that equality is to be achieved primarily by government programs aimed at raising wages and transferring income from rich to poor through income taxes and finance welfare programs); rise in belief that poverty is not a personal failure but a societal failure; expansion of secondary and higher education; attack on religious and racial barriers to equal opportunity (leading to later attacks on gender-based assumptions of behavior and discrimination based on sexual orientation).1970-?: Attack on liberal reforms; defeat of Equal Rights Amendment; rise of tax revolt; rise of Christian Coalition and other political groups of the religious Right.Fourth, and Current, Great Awakening,
1960-?
1960-?: Return to sensuous religion and reassertion of experiential content of the Bible; rapid growth of the enthusiastic religions (including fundamentalist, Pentacostal, and Protestant charismatic denominations, "born-again" Catholics, Mormons); reassertion of concept of personal sin; stress on an ethic of individual responsibility, hard work, a simple life, and dedication to family.1990-?: Attack on materialist corruption; rise of pro-life, pro-family, and media reform movements; campaign for more value-oriented school curriculum; expansion of tax revolt; attack on entitlements; return to a belief in equality of opportunity.?:

 

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The Great Awakening of the Early 18th Century

The Great Awakening of 1720-1745 was a period of intense religious revivalism that spread throughout the American colonies. The movement deemphasized the higher authority of church doctrine and instead put greater importance on the individual and his or her spiritual experience. 

The Great Awakening arose at a time when people in Europe and the American colonies were questioning the role of the individual in religion and society. It began at the same time as the Enlightenment which emphasized logic and reason and stressed the power of the individual to understand the universe based on scientific laws. Similarly, individuals grew to rely more on a personal approach to salvation than church dogma and doctrine. There was a feeling among believers that established religion had become complacent. This new movement emphasized an emotional, spiritual, and personal relationship with God. 

Historical Context of Puritanism

By the early 18th century, the New England theocracy clung to a medieval concept of religious authority. At first, the challenges of living in a colonial America isolated from its roots in Europe served to support an autocratic leadership; but by the 1720s, the increasingly diverse, commercially successful colonies had a stronger sense of independence. The church had to change.

One possible source of inspiration for great change occurred in October of 1727 when an earthquake rattled the region. Ministers preached that the Great Earthquake was God's latest rebuke to New England, a universal shock that might presage the final conflagration and the day of judgment. The number of religious converts increased for some months afterward.

Revivalism

The Great Awakening movement divided longstanding denominations such as the Congregational and Presbyterian churches and created an opening for new evangelical strength in Baptists and Methodists. That began with a series of revival sermons from preachers who were either not associated with mainstream churches, or who were diverging from those churches.

Most scholars date the beginning of the revival era of the Great Awakening to the Northampton revival which began in the church of Jonathan Edwards in 1733. Edwards gained the post from his grandfather, Solomon Stoddard, who had exercised a great deal of control over the community from 1662 until his death in 1729. By the time Edwards took the pulpit, though, things had slipped; licentiousness prevailed particularly with young people. Within a few years of Edward's leadership, the young people by degrees "left off their frolics" and returned to spirituality.

Edwards who preached for close to ten years in New England emphasized a personal approach to religion. He bucked the Puritan tradition and called for an end to intolerance and unity among all Christians. His most famous sermon was "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God," delivered in 1741. In this sermon, he explained that salvation was a direct result of God and could not be attained by human works as the Puritans preached.

"So that, whatever some have imagined and pretended about promises made to natural men’s earnest seeking and knocking, it is plain and manifest, that whatever pains a natural man takes in religion, whatever prayers he makes, till he believes in Christ, God is under no manner of obligation to keep him a moment from eternal destruction."

The Grand Itinerant

A second important figure during the Great Awakening was George Whitefield. Unlike Edwards, Whitefield was a British minister who moved to colonial America. He was known as the "Great Itinerant" because he traveled and preached all around North America and Europe between 1740 and 1770. His revivals led to many conversions, and the Great Awakening spread from North America back to the European continent.

In 1740 Whitefield left Boston to begin a 24-day journey through New England. His initial purpose was to collect money for his Bethesda orphanage, but he lit religious fires, and the ensuing revival engulfed most of New England. By the time he returned to Boston, crowds at his sermons grew, and his farewell sermon was said to have included some 30,000 people.

The message of the revival was to return to religion, but it was a religion that would be available to all sectors, all classes, and all economies.

New Light Versus Old Light

The church of the original colonies was various versions of entrenched Puritanism, underpinned by Calvinism. The orthodox Puritan colonies were societies of status and subordination, with the ranks of men arranged in strict hierarchies. Lower classes were subservient and obedient to a class of spiritual and governing elite, made up of upper-class gentlemen and scholars. The church saw this hierarchy as a status that was fixed at birth, and the doctrinal emphasis was placed on the depravity of (common) man, and the sovereignty of God as represented by his church leadership.

But in the colonies before the American Revolution, there were clearly social changes at work, including a rising commercial and capitalist economy, as well as increased diversity and individualism. This, in turn, created a rise of class antagonism and hostilities. If God bestows his grace on an individual, why did that gift have to be ratified by a church official?

The Significance of the Great Awakening

The Great Awakening had a major impact on Protestantism, as a number of new offshoots grew out of that denomination, but with an emphasis on individual piety and religious inquiry. The movement also prompted a rise in evangelicalism, which united believers under the umbrella of like-minded Christians, regardless of denomination, for whom the path to salvation was the acknowledgment that Jesus Christ died for our sins.

While a great unifier among the people living in the American colonies, this wave of religious revivalism did have its opponents. Traditional clergy asserted that it fomented fanaticism and that the emphasis on extemporaneous preaching would increase the number of uneducated preachers and downright charlatans.

  • It pushed individual religious experience over established church doctrine, thereby decreasing the importance and weight of the clergy and the church in many instances.
  • New denominations arose or grew in numbers as a result of the emphasis on individual faith and salvation.
  • It unified the American colonies as it spread through numerous preachers and revivals. This unification was greater than had ever been achieved previously in the colonies.

Sources

Источник: https://www.thoughtco.com/great-awakening-of-early-18th-century-104594

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