• amanda0195

Great Awakenings


  • Enthusiastic renewal of Christianity

  • Based on European religious movement called pietism

  • Which stressed an individuals emotional devotion God

  • Religion became intensely personal

  • Worshipers became passionately and emotionally involved in their religion

  • And cultivated a personal relationship with God

  • As well as personal responsibility for one's own salvation.

  • Rather than passively listening to an intellectual sermon by a detached minister.

  • Stressed being "born again" and reuniting with God



  • Height in 1740s (during colonial period)

  • Reaction to:

  • Enlightenment, deism, Puritanism

  • But drew on Enlightened admiration for individualism and rejection of traditional authority (British rule)

  • Major Players

  • Jonathan Edwards

  • Wrote "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God"

  • Based on Puritan/Congregationalist ideas

  • But preached personal salvation (a person can save themselves)

  • Puritanism = predestination.

  • George Whitefield

  • Revivalist minister from Ireland who traveled throughout the colonies

  • More emotional than Edwards.

  • Location

  • Edwards was based in Northampton Massachusetts

  • Whitefield traveled throughout the colonies.

  • Influenced the "backcountry"

  • In New England

  • It was influential among Congregationalists (Puritans)

  • In Middle and South Colonies

  • influential among Presbyterians.

  • New Lights and Old Lights

  • New Light ministers adopted the new style of emotional preaching

  • Old Lights ministers favored the traditional religious structure and less emotional sermons.

  • Results

  • Established a sense of unity

  • Challenged power of priests (and by extension, British authority)

  • Rising membership in new religious denominations

  • Particularly southern Baptists (attracted African slaves)



  • Height in 1830s

  • Reaction to:

  • Industrial Revolution (1760-1820/40)

  • Also resulted from increasing political participation of common citizens.

  • People moving away from traditional homelands to frontier were searching for a sense of community.

  • Major Players

  • Charles Grandison Finney

  • Location

  • Western New York - the "Burned Over District" (along the Erie Canal)

  • Result

  • Increased membership in new religious sects

  • Particularly Methodists and Baptists

  • But also Mormons, Seventh-Day Adventists and others.

  • Spirit of revival and morality resulted in a wave of social activism.



  • Both Great Awakenings spread through revivals

  • Large public meetings for preaching and prayer.

  • Both focused on an individual's relationship to God

  • Both Awakenings attracted more women than men

  • Both resulted in new Protestant denominations.


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