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Paper Topic:

Compare/Contrast the First Great Awakening with the Second Great Awakening. How were they caused? What was their impact?

The Great Awakenings refer to several periods of dramatic religious revival in Anglo-American religious history , as periodic revolution in religious thought

The First Great Awakening was a religious revitalization movement that swept the American colonies in the 1730s and 1740s which left a permanent impact on American religion . It resulted from powerful preaching that aimed to convince listeners of their personal guilt and of their need of salvation through decisive action that included public repentance . The First Great Awakening led people to "experience God in their own way " and that they

were responsible for their own actions . The Great Awakening made religion intensely personal to the average person by creating a deep sense of spiritual guilt and redemption , along with introspection and a commitment to a new standard of personal morality Historian such as Sydney E . Ahlstrom sees it as part of a "great international Protestant upheaval " that also created Pietism in Germany the Evangelical Revival and Methodism in England . It brought Christianity to the slaves and was an apocalyptic event in New England that challenged established authority . According to Christine Leigh Heyrman the first Great Awakening can best be described as `a revitalization of religious piety

Unlike the Second Great Awakening , that began about 1800 and which reached out to the unchurched , the First Great Awakening focused on people who were already church members . It changed their rituals , their piety , and their self awareness

The revival was part of a much broader movement , an evangelical upsurge taking place simultaneously in other Protestant cultures during the middle decades of the eighteenth century , a new Age of Faith rose to counter the currents of the Age of Enlightenment , to reaffirm the view that being truly religious meant trusting the heart rather than the head , prizing feeling more than thinking , and relying on biblical revelation rather than human reason

The revival started from Jonathan Edwards who emphasized the importance and power of immediate , personal religious experience in his sermons which were so powerful that they attracted a large following . His most famous sermon was "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God " He stressed the sinful nature of humans and their utter incapacity to overcome this nature without the direct action of the grace of God working through the Holy Spirit . Salvation was purely in God 's hands , something he dispensed as he saw fit for his own reasons

The new style of sermons and the way people practiced their faith breathed new life into religion in America . Participants became passionately and emotionally involved in their religion , rather than passively listening to intellectual discourse in a detached manner

Heimert argues that Calvinism and Jonathan Edwards provided pre-Revolutionary America with a radical and democratic social and political ideology and that evangelical religion embodied and inspired a thrust toward American nationalism . Colonial Calvinism was the basis for the American Great Awakening and that in turn lay at the basis of the American Revolution . Heimert thus sees a major impact as the Great Awakening provided...

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