Summary: An Aspiring Society

Decent Essays
Chapter Ten: An Aspiring Society covers the social and religious reordering that occurred in the 1700’s in the colonies. The norms about the consumption of alcohol were challenged, there was a leap in time and challenges to established religion swept the colonies during the Great Awakening.
Taverns were central to communities, they were places where travelers and locals met with friends, or stopped for a meal and a place to sleep while traveling. Taverns could be a place where the more unsavory elements, prostitution, and trade of stolen goods. Normally, drinking in public was the domain of men. Women usually drank at home, a woman in a tavern was at risk of being considered a prostitute, although, widowed women were frequently granted licenses to run taverns as a source of income. In addition to separating men from women, and the reputable and the disreputable women, taverns divided men people by class. The elites drank in the city centers, while the working class drank elsewhere. And drink they did, an estimated four gallons of high proof alcohol per capita every year, plus beer, wine, hard cider. Water may have been of questionable quality, but alcohol dehydrates the body, leading to the desire for more liquid.
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Johnathan Edwards spread the message of God’s wrath and damnation, like a television evangelist. He used fear to rouse his audiences from their complacency. A very different approach was taken by George Whitefield. He was a huge success in England, and on trips to the American colonies, hundreds of thousands of people listened to him preach. His ministry benefited from printing, newspapers helped spread the word of his visits, and those who could not attend a meeting were able to read about it afterwards. Instead of fire and brimstone, he preached a message of hope and salvation. He was even able to get Benjamin Franklin to empty his pockets into the collection plate. Whitfield was an early disseminator of the “Jesus is cool” message that is so popular
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