2 Questions What was the significance of the Enlightenment in America? In what ways did the Enlightenment and the Great Awakening prompt Americans to challenge traditional sources of authority?How did the Baptists in Virginia challenge conventional assumptions about race, gender, and class in the colony?
3 THE ENLIGHTENMENT INFLUENCED THE COLONISTS Philosophical movement throughout Europe in the 17th and 18th centuriesEmphasis on REASON as the most important human abilityJohn Locke, a philosopher, argued that people possessed “natural rights” given to humans by God: life, liberty, property.The purpose of government, then, was to protect those rights.Others, like the Baron de Montesquieu, argued that absolute monarchy went against natural, God-given rightsIn this manner, colonial leaders believed British government was violating these rights; how were they to overcome oppression?LOCKEMONTESQUIEU
4 What was the Great Awakening? Religious revival movementEvangelicalism – “new birth” considered the ultimate religious experienceFollowers accepted that they were sinners and asked for salvationGeorge Whitefield preaching
5 Before the Great Awakening Before the 1730s, most colonies had two established religions.Congregationalism was the largest religion in New England (Puritans and other dissidents who broke away from the Church of England).Anglicanism was the largest religion in New York and the Southern colonies (same as the Church of England).
6 Old Lights vs. New Lights Churches that grew as a result of the Great Awakening: Presbyterianism, Methodism, Baptism (New Lights)Great Awakening challenged authority and hierarchy of established churches (Old Lights: Congregationalists and Anglicans)Great Awakening said that anybody could be converted and born again. You didn’t need traditional church leadership to decide whether or not you belonged.
7 Leaders of the Great Awakening Jonathan EdwardsGeorge Whitefield
8 Central Historical Question: Why was George Whitefield so popular?
9 Review: The Great Awakening INFLUENTIAL MINISTERS GA: religious movement throughout colonies in 1700s, based on revivalism—stressed individual religious experience rather than needing church leaders as intermediary with GodContributed to a sense of quality for all, since all were qualified to take an active role in the churchWidely believed that this movement was a major factor leading to a sense of freedom and independence within the coloniesJONATHON EDWARDSGEORGE WHITEFIELD
10 Review: The Great Awakening Some Puritans moved away from original ideal, beginning to seek material comfortsAs result, Puritan church attendance declinedSome Puritan clergy, such as Edwards and Whitefield sought to restore the “ideal” and increase church attendance through a “rebirth” of religionSought to Christianize all of North America, by bringing Native Americans and Africans into organized religionWhile Enlightenment figures sought to explain natural phenomena in scientific terms, another group of colonists sought to return back to a religious revival. Many, such as Jonathan Edwards and George Whitefield, sought to return to the basic Puritan philosophy. Their concern was that Puritans had become so enamored with worldly goods and comforts, that they were forsaking the Puritan ideal. It was the goal of these ministers to bring Puritans back to the fold.In addition to bringing back “straying” Puritans, the Great Awakening also brought Native Americans and African Americans to organized religion.
11 Similarities/Differences of the Enlightenment and the Great Awakening Enlightenment sought to use scientific methods and rational thought to explain natural phenomena as something beyond an “act of God”Great Awakening saw Puritan ideal in saving people from decay; sought to return people back to religious lifestyleEnlightenment supported reason; GA supports emotionalism and religious faithBoth groups question traditional authority and practiceBoth groups highlight the importance of the individual over the authority of the government or church
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