Before the 1800s in the United States, much of the population was not religious. Religious skepticism de-emphasized the role of god in daily life and encouraged rational thought. Some Americans, including the founding fathers believed in deism, believing not in the bible, but in science and reason. Authors like Thomas Paine wrote in favor of Deism in works like “The Age of Reason.” Other groups affiliated with Unitarianism, believing that Jesus only a religious leader not the son of god. They pictured God as a loving father instead of a stern creator. Others believed that god created the world, but no longer controls it.
The Second Great Awakening
Similar the first great awakening, the second great awakening’s goal was to increase religious piety in the American population. Several different religious denominations participated in the revival. Presbyterians tended to convert more in the west, with “camp meetings” where several thousand people would gather and share about Christianity. In only a few years a large population of the American people was involved in this movement. The basic message of the second great awakening was that individuals have to include God and Christ into their everyday lives and must reject sectional rationalism.
Affect on Minorities
Young women were drawn to the revival because in many regions, they outnumbered males and as a result, instead of marrying, they turned to religion and the church. Women tended to drift towards religion because many of them were working in factories and were out of their homes. African Americans also played a role in the second great awakening. Religion spread quickly throughout the African American population. Missionaries of the second great awakening also reached the Native American population. They influenced the Native Americans to turn to agriculture instead of hunting. This change in a way of life forced Native American women to take on more domestic... [continues]
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