Great Awakening

Thomas S. Kidd

in Atlantic History

ISBN: 9780199730414
Published online December 2012 | | DOI:
Great Awakening

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  • History of the Americas
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The Great Awakening was the most profound social, cultural, and religious upheaval in the North American British colonies prior to the American Revolution. The most intense phase of these evangelical Christian revivals transpired in New England and the Middle Colonies in the early 1740s, but revivals associated with the Great Awakening began in the 1730s and continued through the American Revolution and beyond. There were similar, and often associated, revivals happening in Britain and Europe in the same time period, but the term “The Great Awakening” is usually understood to apply to revivals in the American colonies. The key figure in precipitating the Great Awakening was the English revivalist George Whitefield, who became one of the greatest media and marketing sensations of early modern history. Over the past three decades, debates over the Great Awakening have primarily focused on the significance of the revivals in colonial American history, and their effect (or lack thereof) on the American Revolution. Since the 19th century, scholars had largely assumed the Great Awakening’s existence and importance, but some modern scholars have raised serious questions about how “great” the awakenings really were. A rough consensus seems to have emerged that we can accurately speak of a “Great Awakening,” but that participants and later evangelical historians were undoubtedly eager to promote its “great” significance. Moreover, many historians have suggested that while the revivals hardly caused the American Revolution, the Great Awakening did help make American colonial culture more receptive to an uprising against British authority thirty years later.

Article.  10428 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas ; European History ; African History ; History ; Regional and National History

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