19th Century Religion

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Religion in the 18th and 19th Centuries

Religion in the 18th and 19th Centuries Religion the early years of America was changing rapidly. From the Puritans that landed on Plymouth Rock to the early colonies spreading across the Atlantic, each group had their own unique take on God, the Church, the family, and their community. During the 18th and 19th centuries, specifically, many religious movements took place that dramatically changed and shaped the America we know today. From 1700 to 1899, a great many changes occurred within the spiritual world. Of the many that came to pass, those that will be discussed in the following essay are the First Great Awakening, the Second Great Awakening, and finally the Anti-Catholic
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One of the first propagators of this movement (now known as the First Great Awakening) is George Whitefield, an English preacher who traveled across America and delivered fiery speeches to immense crowds. The message was fairly similar to traditional Calvinists beliefs (men and women were totally dependent on the mercy of an omnipotent God in order to be saved) but the delivery was more of a theatrical performance than mere preaching. In addition to the impressive and intriguing delivery, people were attracted to this boisterous and emotional revival because of social circumstances: many people in society felt as though Americans were straying from their religious roots and focusing on the material. Johnathan Edwards, a Yale minister, was aggravated at the lax approach to religion and focus on wealth that was spreading across America. He was one of the original advocates of a need to return to the Calvinist ideals; as an early proponent of the Great Awakening, he delivered furious speeches that proclaimed, “God was an angry judge, and humans were sinners!" (ushistory.org, 2012). Awakening preachers sought to renew God 's covenant with America and to reject the materialistic, corrupt world of an …show more content…
Because many groups splintered over the First Great Awakening, the early 19th century was riddled with a variety of different sects, each of whom held different values and beliefs. Further, the American Revolution was “a largely secular affair” (ushistory.org, 2012) – as such, religious control was out of the hands of political leaders, and a great many grassroots revivals began to spread across the country. A sense of evangelicalism pervaded these revivals, which ultimately turned into large, outdoor “camp meetings” filled with enthusiastic and emphatic preaching and crowds that were physically moved within the presence of God 's word. An upsurge in Arminianism (which holds that people have free will and that it is compatible with God 's sovereignty) spread throughout America. For all that the 19th century evangelicals preached about hellfire and damnation, “... they nonetheless harbored an unshakable practical belief in the capacity of humans for moral action, in the ability of humans to turn away from sinful behavior and embrace moral action” (Scott, 2000). This type of belief was quite different from the views of Calvinists and of the First Great Awakening, which viewed human existence as reprobate and that salvation was only possible through God 's almighty grace. The Second Great Awakening emphasized human 's choices and actions,

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