The 1 st and 2 nd great awakening
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The 1 st and 2 nd Great Awakening

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The 1 st and 2 nd great awakening

The 1st and 2nd Great Awakening

11.3.2:Analyze the great religious revivals and the leaders involved, including the First Great Awakening, the Second Great Awakening, the Civil War revivals, the Social Gospel Movement, the rise of Christian liberal theology in 19th century, the impact of the Second Vatican Council, and the rise of Christian fundamentalism in current times.

A nation becoming more religious

A Nation Becoming more Religious

  • Traditional view:

    • The colonies began as religiously devout and pious

  • In Reality:

    • Research has shown that the colonies were becoming more an more religious after their founding.

    • Between 1700 and 1740 and estimated 75-80% of the population were attending church regularly and that number was increasing not declining.

The 1 st and 2 nd great awakening

1730 New York Skyline

1771 New York Skyline

A rebirth

A Rebirth

  • The Great Awakening carried with it a new era of evangelism and an overriding belief that conversion and submission to God was a form of Rebirth.

  • Presbyterians, Baptists, and Methodists= supporters of the Great Awakening

  • Quakers, Anglicans and Congregationalists= the status quo

The 1 st and 2 nd great awakening

Baptist Church ca. 1775

Emergence of evangelicalism

Emergence of Evangelicalism

  • In 1531 Sir Thomas More referred to religious adversaries as Evangelicalls

  • The basic principal of Evangelicalism is the conversion of sinners to a state of grace through a new birth in the form of preaching the word.

  • The 1st generation of New England Puritans required that members undergo a conversion experience that they could describe publicly.

Becoming a movement

Becoming a Movement

  • Early in the 18th century in the connecticut river valley a series of local awakenings began.

  • By the 1730s they had spread into a growing movement across the colonies (particularly in the south in the form of the Baptists).

  • In mass open air revivals preachers like George Whitefield brought thousands of souls to God.

Religion hits the road

Religion Hits the Road

  • George Whitefield (1714-1770)

    • Became famous preaching in England

  • 1738 he made his first of 7 influential trips to the colonies

    • Became so popular in colonies that he was compared to George Washington

    • His tour of 1739-1741 was the zenith of the Great Awakening

      • One sermon in Boston attracted 30k people

      • His style was emotional, simple and theatrical (often compared to modern televangelists)

A critique of whitefield

A Critique of Whitefield

Homegrown religion

Homegrown Religion

  • Jonathan Edwards

    • Most important American preacher during the Great Awakening

    • Was the principal intellectual interpreter and apologist for the movement.

    • He wrote some of the most important works on the movement, placing it in the larger religious context and died shortly after becoming president of Princeton.

    • Like most preachers of his time, he employed fear of divine punishment to cause his audiences to repent.

    • But his writings were much more than just warnings of fire and brimstone.

The 2 nd great awakening

The 2nd Great Awakening

  • In the early 1800s another religious revival swept the nation

  • This 2nd Great Awakening introduced the idea of a kinder and gentler godthe idea of unconditional love.

  • This represented a fundamental change in religious belief.

    • The Old Way: you were either predestined to sin or to be saved

    • The New Way: You could choose to be saved

The 1 st and 2 nd great awakening

  • Children were also viewed differently: They were assumed to be born innocent, and it was the parents job to give them the skills to avoid sin.

Causes of the 2 nd great awakening

Causes of the 2nd Great Awakening

  • The birth of the U.S. seems to have helped spark this revival.

  • In Western areas, Eastern commercialism and urban life was spreading and a fear that perhaps the innocence of country living would disappear forever also grew.

  • The movement also grew in the cities as a reaction to rising commercialismdo we fear change or feel guilty at our growing wealth in contrast to that of the poor masses?

Key actors

Key Actors

  • People you should know:

    • Charles Grandison Finney

    • Lyman Beecher

    • Joseph Smith

Charles grandison finney

Charles Grandison Finney

  • 1792-1875- Fiery Preacher

    • Huge Impact on American Society known for his innovations:

      • Had women pray in public meetings of mixed gender

      • Developed the anxious bench: a place where those considering becoming Christians could come to receive prayer

      • Public censure of individuals by name in his sermons

Lyman beecher

Lyman Beecher

  • 1775-1863: Presbyterian preacher, temperance movement leader and father of Harriet Beecher Stowe

Joseph smith

Joseph Smith

  • 1805-1844: Founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons)



  • Leads to a huge spurt in reform movements, associations and church attendance

  • Start as simple religious movements:

    • Bible Study

    • Sunday School

    • Prayer Meetings

    • Fundraising

Results continued

Results Continued

  • Eventually Influences and gives birth to a multitude of reform movements:

    • Temperance: Women work to help sailors, prisoners and poor and begin to see alcohol as a source of crime and poverty; women have no legal rights and domestic violence seems to be linked to alcohol.

      • Women therefore start a movement to make alcohol illegal

    • Abolition: Appeals to women; god has called them to fix the situation

    • Missions to Native Americans and Slaves: attempt to bring them into the fold.

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