Great Awakening


Great Awakening

The Great Awakenings refer to several periods of rapid and dramatic religious revival in Anglo-American religious history, generally recognized as beginning in the 1730s. They have also been described as periodic revolutions in U.S. religious thought. The term is also used in some respects to refer to American religious revivalism that the Protestant Reformation inspired during and after the 1500s, as well as to identify general religious trends within distinctly U.S. religious culture.

There are four generally accepted Great Awakenings in U.S. history:

* The First Great Awakening (often referred by historians as the "Great Awakening") (1740s-1750s)
* The Second Great Awakening (1800s - 1830s)
* The Third Great Awakening (1880s - 1900s)
* The Fourth Great Awakening (1960s - 1980s)

American Great Awakenings

Although the Great Awakenings influence and are influenced by religious thought from throughout the world, the cycle of Great Awakenings appears unique to the USA. This could be because the USA is home to many different denominations and sects, while remaining largely Protestant, which is known for its relative freedom in terms of expression of belief as opposed to Catholicism. The lack of a single dominant faith or state-sanctioned religion means new ideas can be spread without having to slowly reform existing institutions from within, or allowing pressures to build up until the existing institutions are violently overthrown. On the other hand, the established sects have enough prestige and inertia that the pressure for new ideas builds into a regular cycle of bloodless revolution.

Influence on political life

Since religion has often been used to support political platforms, the Great Awakenings have exerted significant influence on the politics of America. Joseph Tracy, the minister and historian who gave this religious phenomenon its name in his influential (and still, to many, definitive) 1842 book "The Great Awakening", saw the First Great Awakening as a precursor to the War of Independence. For another example, the abolition movement, part of the wider Second Great Awakening, eventually contributed to the crisis over slavery, which led to the American Civil War. The Third Great Awakening would go on to be a major influence in guiding the USA through the Great Depression and World War II. In fact the New Deal was originated from that same era. The idea of an "awakening" implies a slumber or passivity during secular or less religious times. Thus, awakening is a term which originates and is embraced often and primarily by evangelical Christians [Lambert, Frank. "Inventing the "Great Awakening", Princeton University Press, 1999.] . In recent times, the idea of "awakenings" in US history has been put forth by conservative US evangelicals. [ [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/09/12/AR2006091201594.html "Bush Tells Group He Sees a 'Third Awakening'"] "Washington Post," Sept. 12 2006.]

ee also

*Bible belt

Further reading

*Jim Wallis; "The Great Awakening: Reviving Faith & Politics in a Post-Religious Right America"; 2008 HarperOne, ISBN 9780060558291
*Alan Heimert; "Religion and the American Mind: From the Great Awakening to the Revolution"; Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1966
*Robert William Fogel; "The Fourth Great Awakening & the Future of Egalitarianism"; 2000, University of Chicago Press, ISBN 0226256626
*Alan Heimert and Perry Miller ed.; "The Great Awakening: Documents Illustrating the Crisis and Its Consequences"; New York: Bobbs-Merrill, 1967
*Frank Lambert; "Inventing the Great Awakening" Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1999.
*Frank Lambert; "Pedlar in Divinity: George Whitefield and the Transatlantic Revivals"; Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1994
*William G. McLoughlin; "Revivals, Awakenings and Reform: An Essay on Religion and Social Change in America, 1607-1977" (1978)
*Joseph Tracy, "The Great Awakening: A History of the Revival of Religion in the Time of Edwards and Whitefield", 1997, Banner of Truth, ISBN 0851517129. This is a reprint of the original work published in 1842.
*Harry Stout; "The Divine Dramatist: George Whitefield and the Rise of Modern Evangelicalism";Grand Rapids, William B. Eerdmans, 1991

References


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Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Great Awakening, The —   [ȓə greɪt ə weɪkənɪȖ; englisch »die große Erweckung«], Erweckungsbewegung in den Staaten Neuenglands; um 1734 einsetzend, waren u. a. die protestantischen Theologen J. Edwards und Gilbert Tennent (* 1703, ✝ 1764) Hauptvertreter. Nach… …   Universal-Lexikon

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  • First Great Awakening — Great Awakening (engl. für „Große Erweckung“) ist die Sammelbezeichnung für eine Reihe großer protestantischer Erweckungsbewegungen, die sich seit den 1730er Jahren in den britischen Kolonien in Nordamerika bzw. den Vereinigten Staaten ereigneten …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Fourth Great Awakening — Great Awakening (engl. für „Große Erweckung“) ist die Sammelbezeichnung für eine Reihe großer protestantischer Erweckungsbewegungen, die sich seit den 1730er Jahren in den britischen Kolonien in Nordamerika bzw. den Vereinigten Staaten ereigneten …   Deutsch Wikipedia


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