The Great Awakening; Democracy at Church in Colonial America

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The Great Awakening started around 1734 by Christian preachers named Jonathan Edwards and George Whitefield. Edwards refused to convert to The Church of England because he felt the people in New England were to concerned with money and other worldly matters. He was furious when people suggested that predestination was not real and doing good things can save your soul. He spoke with so much anger and fury that he sparked a social movement known as The Great Awakening. George Whitefield had a very emotional preaching style and was from Britain. Thousands would show up to hear him speak.

During the peak of The Great Awakening America was split into New Lights and Old Lights. New Lights embraced the new ideas that included the Baptists some Presbyterians and Methodists. The old lights lost many followers to the New Lights. But one surprising Thing that came out of the split was greater religious tolerance and less connection between the strict central authority of  religion and government.

Before The Great Awakening religion played a huge role in the government. Having social and political authority together does not work.   During The Great Awakening Americans started to separate church authority and state authority. They had greater religious tolerance and they cut away from the religious and political ties to England. In England the church played a huge role in politics and everyday life as it was part of the authority of the King. It seemed that the church ran England more often because it had more contact with the people than the king.  Many American immigrants came to the colonies because they were escaping the central authority of the Church of England and they wanted choice in how they practiced Christianity.

3 Comments

3 Responses to “The Great Awakening; Democracy at Church in Colonial America”

  1. Z power on September 25th, 2014 9:18 am

    Separating the government and the church is an action that had to be done because first of all not all the people have the same beliefs. Secondly, applying justice has nothing to do with religion.

  2. smellslikecake22 on September 25th, 2014 12:40 pm

    i learned that the goverment was religious at that time & the great awakining was started by jonathan and edward
    and edward didnt wanna change the churches beliefs because they had other things to worry about. ok bye

  3. juknowit on September 26th, 2014 1:33 pm

    If the church and government hadn’t been separated who knows where this country would be now. Church beliefs, of lets say Catholic or Christian, are very straight forward, everything would be one sided. For example, before Martin Luther wrote the 95 thesis, the church was getting away with things, and the church had a lot of control. So many different beliefs came about once the church wasn’t fully in charge, people probably felt more comfortable expressing themselves rather than to hide them.

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