The Great Awakening And Enlightenment In Colonial America
During the late seventeenth and early eighteen centuries, colonial America saw major changes. American cities became important seaports and Southern part of America ended becoming the major contributor to colonial America’s economy. In addition, population increased exponentially with immigrants coming in large numbers and due to the growth of plantations.
It was during this period of economic boom that colonial America experienced two major revivals that had lasting effects on the country with regard to religion, government and human nature. The Enlightenment focused on challenging the role of religion and divine right, and the Great Awakening was responsible in unifying colonies and bringing about the acceptance of religious tolerance.
The Enlightenment in Colonial America
The Enlightenment actually began in Europe and it reached colonial America more than a century later. In Europe, the Enlightenment was responsible for inspiring revived interests in education, science and literature. The advocates of this movement stressed the power of humans to reason so as to promote progress. Some clergy also ended up adopting liberal theology that is known as Rational Christianity. Here the belief was that God gave salvation to everyone and not just a chosen group. The followers of this credence believed that God’s greatest gift to mankind was reason which allowed people to follow the moral teachings of Jesus.
The Enlightenment challenged the role of religion and divine right and this helped Colonial America to see that it was possible to challenge the King and divine right. The movement ended up taking a scientific approach to the world and human nature. The movement challenged the role of God and allowed people to see that they were important and had the ability to shape their own lives. The movement resulted in stimulating new interests in education, science and literature, and as a consequence many new colleges were founded.
The Great Awakening in Colonial America
In the mid 1700s, the colonies saw many spiritual and religious revivals. This led to common views being shared by the North and South and faith was preached across races. Most evangelists ended up condemning slavery as a sin. In fact, at the first general conference of Methodism, it was decreed that having a slave would lead to immediate expulsion.
The movement fulfilled people’s need for reassurance, direction and religious purpose, which otherwise was missing. People united in the understanding of the Christian faith and life. However, the Great Awakening ended up weakening the importance of clergy as believers started relying on their own conclusions. The movement also led to creation of different sects and denominations, and advocated religious tolerance. This movement saw traditional authority of the clergy being challenged and eventually it made it easier to challenge the authority of the King.
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