Second Awakening Essay Research Paper The Second

Second Awakening Essay, Research Paper

The Second Awakening

By the 1800 , the revivalist energies of all these congregations were

combining to create the greatest surge of evangelical fervor since the first

Great Awakening sixty year before . Beginning among Presbyterians in

several Eastern colleges , the new awakening soon speard throughtout the

country , reaching its greastest heights in the Western regions . In only a few

years , a large proportionof the American people were mobilized by the

movement ; and membership in those churches embraceing the revival – most

prominently the Methodists , the Baptists , and the Persby tersian – was

mushrooming .

The Second Great Awakening was not entirely uniform , but its basic

thrust was clear . Individuals must readmit God and Christ into their daily

lives , must embrace a fervent , active piety , and must reject the skeptical

rational beliefs . Yet the wave of revivalism did not serve to restore the

religion of the past . Few denominations any longer accepted the idea of

predestination ; and the belief that a person could effect his or her own

destiny , rather than encouraging irreligion as many had feared , added

intensity to the individual s search for salvation . Nor did the awakening

work to reestablish old institutionalforms of religion . Instead , it reinforced

the spread of different sects and denominations and helped to create a

general public acceptance of the idea that people could belong to defferent

Protestant churches and still be committed to essentially the same Christian

faith .

One of the striking features of the awakening was the perponderance

of women involved in it . Young women , in particular , were drawn to

revivalism ; and female converts far outnumbered males . In some areas ,

church membership became overwhelming female as a result . One reason

for this was that women were more numerous than men in regions during

this ear .

The Second Awakening also had significant effects on black

Americans and on relations between the races . In many areas evivals were

open to people of all races ; and many blacks not only attended , but ardently

embraced the new religious fervor . Out of these revivals , in fact , emerged

a substaintial gourp of black preachers , who became important figures

within the slave community . Some of them translated the apparently

egalitarian religious message of the awakening – that salvation was available

to all – into a similarly egalitarrian message for blacks in the present world .

The Second Awakening also had effects , of course , on the rational

freethinker , whose skeptical philosophies had done so much to produce it

. They did not disappear after 1800, but their influence rapidly declined ; and

for many years to come they remained a distinct and defensive minority

within American Christianity . Instead , the dominant religious characteristic

of the new nation was a fervent revivalism , which would survive well into

the mid-nineteenth century .

The new religious enthusiasm meshed with the cultural and political optimism of the early

republic . Many Americans were coming to believe that their nation had a special destiny :

that its political system would serve as a model to the world , that its culture would

become a beacon to mankind . Now there were voices arguing that the United States had

a religious mission as well : that American revivalism would lead to the of the entire


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