The Great Awakening
During the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, Colonial America saw major changes. It was during this period of change that a revival was experienced that had lasting effects on the country with regard to religion, human nature and government. The first Great Awakening although heavily influenced religion, it also encouraged an individualism that would come to characterize Americans.
The spread of religious indifference, of deism, of denominational rivalry, and of comfortable backsliding profoundly concerned many Christians (American Promise, pg.131). This concern ushered in a wave of revivals that swept through the American colonies. At this time man in Europe and the American colonies where questioning an individuals role in religion and society, and the Great Awakening provided these answers. The religious revival of America’s common folks was the first major event that all colonies could share, breaking differences. Governing norms were questioned as practices and mindsets begin to change. These revivals placed greater emphasis on an individual’s faith and salvation, which pushed individual experience over established church doctrine. No longer where colonists passively listening to religion, they gained more passion and actively begin studying the bible. The Great Awakening forced a higher importance to be placed on education which triggered the belief in equality of opportunity. This was, “The Principle that accepted the inequality of income and other circumstances of life as natural, but held that persons of low social rank could raise themselves up by industry, perseverance, talent and righteous behavior to the top of economic and social order,” (Fogle,2) Reassurance, direction and religious purpose gained, ultimately provided people with an American identity district from Europe. Although largely referred to solely as a religious revivals, the morals and themes expressed...
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