Skip Nav

The Great Awakening

Essays on Second great awakening

❶Politics of the Gilded Age The effects of this movement were especially significant because the majority of topics of moral and religious debate at the time also happened to be topics of current political controversy.

Navigation menu

Buy Lecture Teaching on the Second Great Awakening essay paper online
If you like our content, please share it on social media!
How to cite this page

It was in the transformation of Calvinist theology that the Second Great Awakening had the most profound impact on individuals and on American religious culture. In its broad strokes, the Awakening entailed a virtual abandonment of the stricter aspects of Calvinism, in particular the doctrines of predestination and innate depravity, and established as normative the Arminian belief in the possibility of universal salvation through personal faith and devotional service.

Where traditional Calvinism had taught that divine grace, or election into heaven, depended on the arbitrary will of a severe God, the evangelical Protestants preached that the regeneration and salvation of the soul depended on one's inner faith. As the belief in unalterable reprobation faded, the notion of free will was correspondingly elevated.

Reconciliation with God still required the continued practice of moral living -- free will was understood to mean the freedom to do good -- but salvation had been effectively democratized.

This tectonic shift that the Awakening brought about reflected the contributions of Enlightenment philosophy in moving humanity toward an ontological center, in emphasizing the instrumentality of free will and in conceiving of God and nature as benevolent entities. It is not surprising that this religious philosophy found such a receptive audience in the United States, where the Calvinist doctrine of "inability" seemed out of touch with a culture steeped in the ideology of universal equality and political and economic mobility.

It also corresponded nicely with many Americans' self-image as creators of a new Eden; just as the individual soul could be redeemed through the exercise of free will, a national redemption could also follow from collective efforts toward social improvement. Internal moral reform and social reform thus emerged as the two principal and parallel legacies of the Second Great Awakening. This religious epoch, then, involved much more than theological evolution.

In its social aspects, the Awakening had as profound an impact on American culture as the Constitution on American government and the Hamiltonian system on American economics. The Awakening, however, was not a uniform phenomenon; the theological and social changes it effected took place at different times, and with varying intensity, in different areas of the nation. In one sense, the Awakening had the unifying effect of making evangelical Protestantism the nation's overwhelmingly predominant religion.

At the same time, within the parameters of Protestantism, the Awakening had a diversifying effect by breeding numerous schisms between the various denominations; after all, sectarianism was only natural in a "competitive marketplace" of religion.

In short, more and more people called themselves Protestants, but they also began to distinguish themselves from other Protestants. The first stirrings of the Awakening occurred in the South and sparsely populated old Southwest, with its predominantly rural economy and poorly developed infrastructure and institutions, where religious organization served the critical function of providing social stability for the populace.

Here the two clearly dominant groups were the Methodists and Baptists, although other active sects included the Presbyterians, the Christians and the Disciples the last two formed by followers of Barton Stone and Alexander Campbell.

The South did not produce, in Martin Marty's words, "first-rate theological minds" on the order of Jonathan Edwards, but in the decades after independence Evangelical Protestantism spread like wildfire through the region, with preachers fanning the flames at camp-meetings.

Precise numbers are difficult to ascertain, but Donald Mathews estimates that approximately 83 percent of Southern church members in were Evangelicals, and this percentage would climb in the decades to follow. The picture was much the same in the Midwest. Here, Protestantism achieved steady gains as evangelical methodology received greater definition under the influence of Charles Grandison Finney, who turned revivalism into a virtual science.

In an lecture to his Presbyterian church in New York, entitled "What a Revival of Religion Is," Finney went further than anyone else had to date in setting out the precise methods and objectives of revivalist Evangelicalism. Fogel, Robert William University of California Press published Im, Chun Beh New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. The Winning of the Midwest: Social and Political Conflict, — Jones, Charles Edwin The Holiness Movement and American Methodism, — Kleppner, Paul [].

The Third Electoral System, — Parties, Voters, and Political Cultures. Chapel Hill, North Carolina: University of North Carolina Press. Latourette, Kenneth Scott A History of the Expansion of Christianity. Revivals, Awakenings, and Reform. Religion and the American Civil War. The Second Evangelical Awakening in Britain. Retrieved August 7, American Educational History Journal. North American Foreign Missions, — Theology, Theory, and Policy. Abell, Aaron Ignatius The Urban Impact on American Protestantism, — Returns for and Compared with the Government Census of Condition and Characteristics of Christianity in the United States.

Johns Hopkins University Press. Dieter, Melvin Easterday The Holiness Revival of the Nineteenth Century. Billy Sunday and the Redemption of Urban America. A Passion for Souls: The Life of D. Deichmann; Gifford, Carolyn De Swarte Gender and the Social Gospel. God's Man for the Gilded Age: Moody and the Rise of Modern Mass Evangelism. Finke, Roger ; Stark, Rodney The Churching of America, — Winners and Losers in Our Religious Economy.

I counted seven ministers, all preaching at one time, some on stumps, others on wagons Some of the people were singing, others praying, some crying for mercy. A peculiarly strange sensation came over me. My heart beat tumultuously, my knees trembled, my lips quivered, and I felt as though I must fall to the ground. This young man was so moved that he went on to become a Methodist minister. As this quotation suggests, evangelical ministers reached their audience at an emotional level that powerfully moved large crowds.

The evangelical impulse at the heart of the Second Great Awakening shared some of the egalitarian thrust of Revolutionary ideals. Evangelical churches generally had a populist orientation that favored ordinary people over elites. For instance, individual piety was seen as more important for salvation than the formal university training required for ministers in traditional Christian churches. The immense success of the Second Great Awakening was also furthered by evangelical churches innovative organizational techniques.

These were well suited to the frontier conditions of newly settled territories. Most evangelical churches relied on itinerant preachers to reach large areas without an established minister and also included important places for lay people who took on major religious and administrative roles within evangelical congregations. The Second Great Awakening marked a fundamental transition in American religious life.

Many early American religious groups in the Calvinist tradition had emphasized the deep depravity of human beings and believed they could only be saved through the grace of God. The new evangelical movement, however, placed greater emphasis on humans' ability to change their situation for the better.

By stressing that individuals could assert their " free will " in choosing to be saved and by suggesting that salvation was open to all human beings, the Second Great Awakening embraced a more optimistic view of the human condition. The repeated and varied revivals of these several decades helped make the United States a much more deeply Protestant nation than it had been before.

Finally, the Second Great Awakening also included greater public roles for white women and much higher African-American participation in Christianity than ever before. The Iroquois Tribes 2. The House of Burgesses 3. Witchcraft in Salem 4.

The Ideas of Benjamin Franklin 5. Life in the Plantation South 6. A New African-American Culture 7. The Treaty of Paris and Its Impact 9.

The Intolerable Acts The Declaration of Independence Yorktown and the Treaty of Paris When Does the Revolution End? Revolutionary Changes and Limitations: The Age of Atlantic Revolutions The Economic Crisis of the s Constitution Through Compromise

How to cite this page

Main Topics

Privacy Policy

The Second Great Awakening - The Second Great Awakening was a religious revival. It influenced the entire country to do good things in .

Privacy FAQs

Free essay on The Second Great Awakening available totally free at, the largest free essay community.

About Our Ads

Second Great Awakening Essay. Second Great Awakening. There was evidence of progress in the role of white middle class women, between and , due to the commercial economy and the religious revival brought on by the antebellum market revolution and Second Great Awakening. Free Essay: In the 's, 's, and beyond, There is a Second Great Awakening. The Second Great Awakening had a decided impact on American society. In the.

Cookie Info

Second Great Awakening In the late s and s a religious revival called the Second Great Awakening had a strong impact on the American religion and reform. Second Great Awakening This Essay Second Great Awakening and other 64,+ term papers, college essay examples and free essays are available now on Autor: skylarmas • October 1, • Essay • Words (2 Pages) • /5(1).