The Significant Relationship Between the First Awakening and the Second Great Awakening

First Great Awakening: 1730s-1740s
  • The Great Awakening started when religion had cooled down, due to the droning preachers and increasing liberalism in congregations, new ideas like the Arminians (free will, not predestination) began to form.
  • Jonathan Edwards (preached God's grace, not good works, and instilled fear of hell). George Whitefield (amazing orator, preached spiritual awakening, excited people!)
  • More emotion in religion.
  • "Old lights" vs. "New lights"
  • Significance: emphasized direct, emotive spirituality. Undermined older clergy (and no need for education to become a preacher). Set of schisms in denominations - increased numbers and competitiveness of American churches. Encouraged missionary work among the Indians and even black slaves. "New light" centers of higher learning were founded, like Princeton, Brown, Dartmouth. UNITED AMERICANS!

Second Great Awakening: 1830s-1840s

  • Old Calvinism had been long swept out of America. Rationalist ideas had softened the older orthodoxy.
  • Deism inspired a new religion - the Unitarian faith (God existed in one person, no trinity, promoted good works, believed man was inherently good).
  • The 2nd Great Awakening was a reaction to growing liberalism in religion. It started on the Southern frontier, and soon spread to the Northeast. Larger than the First Great Awakening. Many converted souls, reorganization of churches, new sects appeared (Mormons, Adventists).
  • Encouraged social reforms: prison reform, temperance, women's movement, and crusade to abolish slavery.
  • Thousands of people met at "camp meetings" to hear hellfire sermons.
  • Methodists and Baptists gained the most conversions from this Awakening.
  • Peter Cartwright (preached while flailing), and Charles Grandison Finney (greatest revival preacher).
  • Feminization of religion: women were the most fervent enthusiasts of religious revivalism. Made up a majority of church memberships. It was women's' job to "bring their families back to God."

Relationship

  • Both were caused by liberalism in religion. Second bigger than First. Second inspired more than just religion - inspired reform movements, as well as literature and education-y stuff. The First united the country (it was the first cause that swept through all of America). The Second in some ways revealed separations within the country. The poor South was Baptist and Methodist and these churches supported slavery. The wealthier Northerners were Episcopals, Presbyterians, Congregationalists, and Unitarians. The Second involved women taking an important role in religion.

13 comments:

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