The Greatest Awakening
Starting in the early 1700’s, the role of religion in the average American’s life had diminished considerably. As a result, many religious customs and beliefs were re-introduced. In the 1720’s, The First Great Awakening, as it became known, was a radical change in American religious beliefs and customs, as well as a change in political and social beliefs. As time passed and the United States was formed, these changes began to fade away. Beginning in 1790 however, another great awakening brought on even greater religious, as well as political and social change. While many view the First Great Awakening as the greatest religious, social, and political influence to American society, in fact, the Second Great Awakening impacted American society and culture to an even greater extent.
The events leading up to both Great Awakenings were similar in many ways. Before the First Great Awakening, American beliefs and culture had swayed away from the Puritan traditions and beliefs. In response, religious leaders such as Jonathan Edwards, a strict Puritan, and George Whitefield, an English minister, dedicated their time to bringing the people back to strict religious beliefs. Edwards emphasized a harsher, more personal view on religious repentance reawaken the fear of God. Unlike Edwards, Whitefield traveled up and down North America preaching and spreading a wider awareness of religious values and beliefs. While the religious revival of the First Great Awakening led to thousands of people rededicating themselves to God and created a spiritual rebirth, as mentioned before, The Second Great Awakening's religious transformations took a bigger step in altering religious beliefs as well as political and social views.
By the 1890’s, the views taught by Edwards, Whitefield, and other Protestant speakers, as well as the religious zeal of the American people had significantly faded. While ¾ of population of 23...