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First Great Awakening

The Great Awakening was a period of religious revival in American history. The term was coined in 1842 by Joseph Tracy, a minister and historian, in his influential book The Great Awakening.

What is the meaning of the First Great Awakening ?

According to historians, the Great Awakening in America began in the early 18th century. It is defined as the period of religious revival by evangelical protestant ministers. The first wave began soon after the arrival of European settlers in the early 1700s. Its result was the growth of the Presbyterian, Methodist and Baptist Churches.

Who were the prominent leaders of the First Great Awakening ?

The First Great Awakening began with Johnathan Edwards, a famous theologian and minister. Apart from Edwards, Gilbert Tennent and George Whitefield were the prominent leaders of the First Great Awakening.

What was the cause of the First Great Awakening ?

In the 17th century England, the Church of England was established as the church of the entire country. This resulted in complacency and spiritual “dryness” among believers, as some historian state. Decades later, this resulted in the spiritual revival which played an important role in preparing America for its War of Independence.

What were the effects of the First Great Awakening?

The effect of the First Great Awakening was that the people of colonial America realized that political power resided in their own hands rather than the English monarch’s. It created a milieu which made the American Revolution possible.

What were the moral ideas of First Great Awakening?

The Great Awakening incited acrimony between the traditionalists, who believed in rituals and doctrine, and the new revivalist, who believed in emotional involvement and personal commitment. According to Gary Nash in The Urban Crucible (1986), the First Great Awakening was a means by which the colonial Americans were able to challenge their “social betters”. The revival began by calling for a response from the heart and emphasized Christian ideals of love and fellowship.

What were the political ideas of First Great Awakening?

The evangelical movement of 1740 helped in the development of democratic concepts. It created a demand for the segregation of church and state. It democratized religion by amending the balance of power between the minister and the congregation. It provided people with an “ American” identity which was distinct from its European counterpart. Many historians believe that the religious background of the American people created a the mindset from which the ideology of the revolution grew.

What do “Old Lights” and “New Lights” refer to?

The critics of colonial America who favored a middle course for the Awakening were referred to as “New Lights”. The “New Lights” approved of the more emotional appeal of the revivalists, whereas the “Old Lights” preferred the order of regular church services. They were called “Old Lights” because they disapproved the excess emotional involvement in the Great Awakening.