Land of the Brave

Great Awakening

Colonial America - Land of the Brave

Great Awakening Definition
Definition of the Great Awakening. The Great Awakening a period of religious awakening and reform. It was a series of religious revivals that swept over the American colonies that were led by evangelical Protestant ministers. The Great Awakening was sparked by the tour of an English evangelical minister called George Whitefield.

Great Awakening - Dates
The First Great Awakening began in 1725 and lasted up to 1750. The Second Great Awakening began during the early 1800's.

The third and fourth revivals inspired by the Great Awakening occurred between 1880-1910 and in the late 1960s and early 1970s. This article covers the First and Second Great Awakening which occurred in Colonial America.

The First Great Awakening
The First Great Awakening focused on the church congregation - people who were already church members. It changed their piety, their rituals and their self awareness. The First Great Awakening sought to make reforms to the church. It also sought to make conversions within the church community. The First Great Awakening led to a division between the "Old Lights" and "New Lights." Revivalists, or the "New Lights", split off from the Congregationalists, Anglicans and Presbyterians and formed their own denominations. Many "New Lights" became Baptists and Methodists, and a new revivalist Presbyterian denomination was formed. The First Great Awakening emphasized personal freedom and repudiated slavery.

The Second Great Awakening
The Second Great Awakening enrolled millions of new members focussing on the belief that every person could be saved through revivals. The focus shifted from traditional evangelism and conversion, to recruitment into different denominations. In the North, the First Great Awakening resulted in the creation of voluntary, reformist societies, which led directly to the abolitionist movement in the middle of the 1800's. In the South, white evangelicals began to preach that the Bible supported slavery, a notion that was in the interests of the Slave Plantations.

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