Thursday, October 1, 2009

Notes: Great Awakening

Great Awakening

From colonists to rebels in just a few generations


Historiographic explanations:

Charles Beard

Economic determinist

Writing during progressive era.

Had a pattern in mind; fit evidence into the pre-existing pattern

Edmund Morgan

Ideas matter!

Ideas pre-date the economic conflict

Tax conflict analogous to Franz Ferdinand: Spark, not underlying cause.

Grad school epiphany

3 hours unskilled labor. Who is willing to die? Who is willing to kill?

Sometimes people write what they mean

If it was ideas, we should see what factors changed our way of thinking. The Great Awakening is the first and most important step.

On the Road to Revolution

3 major steps that changed the American intellectual climate in a way that laid the groundwork for Revolution:

1) The Great Awakening

2) The French and Indian War

3) The Enlightenment

The Great Awakening, which emphasized a personal experience of God, is hard to study.

"...hard to define, being one of those popular movements which have no obvious beginning or end, no pitched battles or legal victories with specific dates, no constitutions or formal leaders, no easily quantifiable statistics and no formal set of beliefs." – Paul Johnson, historian


Who Many Preachers. Most famous were Jonathon Edwards and George Whitefield

What A religious movement that spread through the colonies – Emotionalism – Personal connection with God - CATHARTIC

Where The American colonies. There were some sectional differences, but first transcontinental phenomenon.

When 1730s to 1740s

Why Dry intellectualism (Reverend Lovejoy) and secularism (Halfway Covenant; commercialism; failure of Salem WT) People wanted emotionalism. Frontier influence (Madeline Stowe quote): Hacking their lives out of the wilderness, bearing their children as they go!

Origins: American and English (Tennant’s orgin): American PHENOMENON

American: Personal experience of Christ – Gilbert Tennant

Jonathon Edwards – Hellfire and Damnation “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God!”

Break down/build up: Edwards is R. Lee Ermey

George Whitefield – “lung boy” -- Southern colonies

(True confessions: Importance of vocabulary as a class marker)

Hurts Anglican church. Rich/poor division (Which is geographic in South) – Baptists and Methodists

Why do southern Anglicans generally stay old light?


American churches divide: New Lights/ Old Lights

Consequences of the Great Awakening:

Undermines established institutions (Churches)

"Father Abraham, Whom have you in heaven? Any Episcopalians? No! Any Presbyterians? No! Any Independents or Seceders, New Sides or Old Sides, any Methodists? No! No! No! Whom have you there, then, Father Abraham? We don't know those names here! All who are here are Christians-believers in Christ..." – Whitefield

But when people get excited about religion, dogma will creep in. Intense competition between denominations

Emphasis on individualism

People get used to pitting individualism vs. institutions (eventually vs. crown)

Preview of politics/ mob, er, I mean, public gatherings

Patrick Henry: Liberty or Death!

Jefferson: Pursuit of happiness

Mass communication/ community life/ increased newspaper base and readership

Why do people start businesses?

Printing presses profitable due to increased demand for Jeremiads.


"...what is now seen in America....and the very uncommon and wonderful circumstances and events of this work, seem to be me strongly to argue that God intends it as the beginning or forerunner of something vastly great." – America is different! Jonathon Edwards

Link Exceptionalism to the City on the Hill

1 comment:

  1. u know.......this is kinda jibberish to me...........


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