The Impact of the Great Awakening on the Ideological Development of the Colonies

595 Words2 Pages
Elaborate on the Great Awakening. How did the movement impact the ideological development of the colonies? The colonies were founded in the spirit of a relatively rigid conception of divine election. According to the Calvinist notion which dominated at the time, God had already chosen whom he would save and it was incumbent upon the elect to demonstrate their fitness for heaven upon earth. Gradually, over the course of the 18th century, the rationalist ideas of the Enlightenment that had become common currency in Europe began to permeate America. Religious zeal began to wane, and a more secular approach to life and education was adopted in urban locations and at elite institutions like Harvard and Yale. However, in rural areas of America there was profound resistance to this notion, and the Great Awakening was a response to the perceived negative influence of this secularization (Faragher et al 2009: 120). Preachers like Jonathan Edwards used fire metaphors to counterbalance what many felt was the new spiritual "coldness" of the rationalist era (Faragher et al 2009: 120). George Whitefield was one of the most influential speakers of the era, and promised an egalitarian salvation for all, regardless of denomination, so long as there was an acceptance of the divine in the listener's heart. This spilt between the secular and the urban and the rural and the religious parallels many of the current 'red' and 'blue' divisions of our own era, in which the social worldview of

More about The Impact of the Great Awakening on the Ideological Development of the Colonies

Open Document