Religion has always been important in American society. During colonial times, the Thirteen Colonies used to be a refuge for Protestants fleeing persecution in Europe. Beginning with the Pilgrims, various denominations sought the freedom of religion offered by America. In the 1830s and 1840s, a new wave of religiosity swept across the United States, promoting social reform. For the first time, women and slaves were allowed to actively participate in church services. The Second Great Awakening is credited with strengthening the temperance movement to reduce alcohol consumption and the abolitionist movement to outlaw slavery. Thus, this religious movement can be credited with initiating the movement toward America's final reckoning over slavery, which culminated in the United States Civil War (1861-65).
Scenography: The Pilgrims and the Puritans
One of the reasons many Europeans came to British colonies in North America in the late 16th and early 17th centuries wasfreedom of religion. Exiled from England for refusing to pray with the Church of England, the Pilgrims arrived in Plymouth Colony.in the early 1600'sand are known for the first Thanksgiving celebration. Dissatisfaction with the Church of England created two groups: Puritans wanted to cleanse the Church of England of supposedly inappropriate beliefs and practices, while Separatists wanted to fully develop their own religious beliefs. These Separatists became the Pilgrims, and many Puritans also quickly established themselves in the British colonies.
A decade after the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock in what is now Massachusetts, the Puritans came close and founded theMassachusetts Bay Colony. The Puritans were religious conservatives who thought the Church of England was too similar to the Roman Catholic Church -from which it parted ways in the 1530s— and had deviated from the original teachings of the Bible. The Puritans were known for their rigidity.adherence to pietyand insisted that members be "visibly godly", which included sobriety.
Setting the Stage: The First Great Awakening
In the mid-17th century, a wave of religious fervor swept through the Thirteen Colonies.starting in europebetween different Protestant denominations. This first great awakening was a reaction against the new movement of rationalism commonly known asthe enlightenment. Critics feared that the growing popularity of studying science and history in search of answers to modern dilemmas was threatening the focus on religion. In order to attract more people to the religion, formal forms of traditional worship were challenged.evangelizationin the colonies. Skilled speakers traveled from city to city, drawing crowds of believers like George Whitefield.
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The evolution from rigid, formal worship to free-flowing evangelical revivals in the mid-18th century led to the establishment of new Protestant denominations in the colonies, including Baptists, Methodists, and Presbyterians. Eventually, however, there was areverseagainst noisy and unforeseen revivals, and the denominations were largely permanent and formalized in the 1770s and 1770sBeginning of the American Revolution. There was also public unease about women and African Americans participating in religious revivals. More "quiet" denominations, such as Anglicans and Quakers, absorbed new members in the 1770s, as some colonists turned away from "excessive" revivals.
1820: Emergence of the second great awakening
the beginning ofthe industrial revolutioncoincided with one in the late 1700srise of secularism, or focus on the contemporary world and science and the decline of religiosity. To reintegrate believers and recruit new members, Protestant denominationsstarted holding active and energetic revivals again. In the early 1820s, popular preacher Charles Finney began holding revivals in western New York, in an area known as New York.Neighborhood Burned. This area, so named because it was "burned" from hosting so many revivals so quickly, was the birthplace ofnew religious movements, including the Mormon Church.
This new wave of revivals in the early 19th century contrasted the First Great Awakening by focusing on the good works men and women could do to strengthen their relationship with God. While the First Great Awakening focused on existing church members, the Second Great Awakening sought to attract new members and focused on thosepositive decisionspeople could do. The view that men and women could work out their own religious salvation was relatively new, as until the First Great Awakening, Protestantism focused on predestination, or the belief that God's will had already determined one's destiny. The focus on self-improvement has led to the creation of voluntary organizations to seek to reform society and help those in trouble.
1830: Expansion of ideas
The Second Great Awakening spread like revivalsimportant social events, which attracts hundreds or even thousands of participants. These revivals also had apopulist spiritpraising commoners over elites, which also fit the political zeitgeist of Democratic President Andrew Jackson. This is how you can see the second great awakening and jacksonian democracyadditional. In the 1830s, the last states ended formal support for churches and denominations, enshrined the separation of church and state, and emphasized freedom of religion.
increase in immigrationfrom Ireland and Germany to the United States, bringing many Roman Catholics and Lutherans, may have intensified the second great awakening, causing Protestants to want to distinguish their religious views from the influx of Catholics. Furthermore, the growing number of Protestant denominations likely increased religious fervor as each denomination tried to create its own unique brand of religiosity. Finally, Northeastern industrialism brought physical and social changes that contributed to the fear of a changing world. Given the uncertainties of America's industrialization andwest extension, many sought solace in religion.
In the early 19th century, women enjoyed more rights than in the previous century, although far fewer rights than men. The Second Great Awakening saw womenactive as a preacherfor the first time with the famous preacher Harriet Livermore, who even preached before Congress four times during this era. Part of the growing role of women in Protestant denominations in the 1820s and 1830s came from necessity: the rapid growth of congregations required women to shepherd the flock alongside male ministers. The new religious focus on self-determination and self-government, as opposed to predestination, also gave women more freedom. If anyone can claim his own salvation through good works, it must be both men and women.
The populist spirit of religion in the early 1800s also favored greater rights for women, who previously lacked active roles in denominations. In fact,more women than menjoined new churches in the 1820s and 1830s. Many women saw religiosityas an escape routethe boredom and loneliness of domesticity, especially in areas where industrialization has replaced agriculture. Women who did not have to help with agricultural work were often relegated to domestic work (the "female area’), which could increase social isolation.
Slavery in the Second Great Awakening
Charles Finney, a model preacher for the Second Great Awakening, was against slavery. The Second Great Awakening also saw more African Americansconvert to Christianity, as some slave owners even considered it their “moral duty” to teach their slaves the Bible. This created a dichotomy, as both supporters and opponents of slavery used the Bible to make their case. Many revivalists opposed slavery on the grounds that the Bible preached equality and mercy, while conservatives argued that the Bible justified slavery by pointing to several of them.individual ticketsthe practice seemed to condone it. Some enslavers argued that they were good Christians for "civilizing" enslaved people.
Many African Americans embraced Christianity during the second great awakening because of the energetic and vocal nature of revivals and evangelicalism.better fit with African traditionsthan more restrained religious practices.As slavery became more entrenched in the South, as it was necessary for the agrarian economy, more Protestant preachers came to accept and even defend slavery. This led to widespread controversy in previous decades.United States Civil War (1861-65)that slavery was necessary to protect and guide African Americans who could not be trusted to govern themselves. Unfortunately, this argument was consistent with the widespread treatment ofwomen as subordinatesin Christianity, depriving northern Protestants of the argument that treating some Christians unequally was clearly wrong.
Outcomes of the Second Great Awakening: The Temperance Movement
The inclusion of women in the Second Great Awakening led to empowermenttemperance movementtrying to reduce alcohol consumption. At that time, per capita alcohol consumption was aboutseven gallonsper year – much more than today! Intoxication was seen as a threat to women and families, and therefore the temperance movement was seen as a religious crusade against the "demon" of physical abuse of drunkenness. Temperance movements existed before, but the Second Great Awakening reinforced recent attempts to champion them.total abstinenceof alcohol consumption.
As the Second Great Awakening focused heavily on voluntary actions in pursuit of salvation, the then burgeoning temperance movement had voluntary temperance pledges that individuals could sign to show their intentions. In 1826, the American Temperance Society was formed, and within a decadeone in tenAmerican was a member. This temperance movementexpanded furthereven after the second great awakening, with Catholic groups recording sparingly1840s and 1850s in urban areas.
Outcomes of the Second Great Awakening: Abolitionism
In the 1820s, the abolitionist movement spread rapidly with a bold proclamation by an EnglishwomanElizabeth Coltman Heyrick, which said that slavery should end immediately and without guaranteeing compensation to the enslavers. In the 1830s, this new boldness of abolitionism spread across the United States, fueling the anti-slavery movement, primarily from free blacks to white citizens. The American Anti-Slavery Society was founded in 1833 and sponsored by religious Quakers. Northern believers formed the majority of abolitionists during the Second Great Awakening era, motivated by religious teachings about equality. Renowned preacher Charles Finney became a leading abolitionist at Ohio's newly formed Oberlin College in 1835.
Religious zeal helped motivate abolitionists to increase their activities in the 1830s, particularly withemail actionsdemand the end of slavery. Although the materials sent did little to convince Southerners of the wrongs of slavery, they supposedly helped influence anti-slavery public opinion among Northerners. Although the religious push to abolish slavery did not bring legal success, it did help lay the groundwork for political campaigns against slavery. Even after the Second Great Awakening subsided, the abolitionist movement remained strong through the 1850s.
The end of the second great awakening
The deep entrenchment of slavery in the South led to thisdivision of religious sectsin the 1830s and 1840s. 1845, theSouthern BaptistDenomination was created, split over the issue of slavery. Similar divisions occurred between Methodists and Presbyterians. Divisions over slavery largely dissolved the unified revivalism that had intensified religiosity in America in the previous decade. in modern times,The Southern Baptist denomination has come to terms with its controversial originsand recognized its dark nature.
A large group of evangelicals whoOs Millerit, reached up to a million Americans with its religious revivals in the early 1840s. William Miller, its leader, predicted that the second coming of Christ would take place in 1843 and the worthy would ascend to heaven the following year. Unfortunately for the Millerites, Miller's predictions did not come true and the movement collapsed. When the Second Coming failed to materialize in 1843, religious zeal began to wane across the country.
A legacy of religious conservatism
Although evangelicalism waned in the 1840s, it periodically returned. One of those eras was that1950er, with many Americans turning to religion to insulate themselves from rapid social change likecold war, consumerism and the birth ofcivil rights movement. Modern technologies like radio and television have allowed preachers to reach millions of viewers. The most famous evangelical leader to emerge in the 1950s wasReverendo Billy Graham, which developed a powerful following among Southern Baptists.
In the late 1970s and early 1980s there was a backlash against civil rights andhippie movements1960s led to the emergence ofnew right. This movement included conservative evangelicals who promoted traditional family values to combat what they saw as harmful mountaineers.feminism, Affirmative Action and Tolerance of the LGBTQ Community. Conservative Protestant leaders like Pat Robertson became televangelists, reaching large audiences on cable television. During the era of President Ronald Reagan, the evangelical movement became a powerful political force, often influencing the Republican Party as a whole.
What was the Second Great Awakening answer? ›
The 2nd Great Awakening was a religious revival that took place after the American Revolution between 1790 and 1840 in an effort to restore a simpler form of Christianity. This religious movement was felt nationwide and consisted of small and large gatherings alike.What is the Second Great Awakening in America? ›
Second Great Awakening, Protestant religious revival in the United States from about 1795 to 1835. During this revival, meetings were held in small towns and large cities throughout the country, and the unique frontier institution known as the camp meeting began.How did America respond to the Second Great Awakening? ›
A desire to reform the U.S. also arose out of the Second Great Awakening. The U.S. temperance and abolitionist movements were both greatly influenced by the revival movement and its messages. Additionally, women's involvement in the revival provided support for the women's rights movement.What are the key features of the Second Great Awakening? ›
Key Takeaways: The Second Great Awakening
It pushed the idea of individual salvation and free will over predestination. It greatly increased the number of Christians both in New England and on the frontier. Revivals and public conversions became social events that continue to this day.
The Second Great Awakening, in particular, rejected the Enlightenment influences on the founding of the United States. Worshippers rejected rationalism and deism, the worship of a distant and uninvolved God. For evangelicals, God was directly involved with each per- son's life and with society as a whole.