- The Second Great Awakening - origins and major ideas
- The Second Great Awakening - influence of the Market Revolution
- The Second Great Awakening - reform and religious movements
- The development of an American culture
- Antebellum communal experiments
- The early temperance movement - origins
- The early temperance movement - spread and temporary decline
- Women's labor
- Women's rights and the Seneca Falls Convention
- African Americans in the Early Republic
- The Cotton Kingdom
- The society of the South in the early republic
- Culture and reform in the early nineteenth century
The Second Great Awakening - origins and major ideas
What was the Second Great Awakening? Kim discusses the origins and major ideas behind this period of religious revival in the early nineteenth century in the United States.
Want to join the conversation?
- Was there a Mormon church in this time period?(8 votes)
- From the author:Hi Audrey, this is when the Mormon (LDS) church was founded! I talk about that a bit more in part 3 of this video series. You can check it out here: https://www.khanacademy.org/humanities/us-history/the-early-republic/culture-and-reform/v/the-second-great-awakening-part-3(16 votes)
- How could 30,000 people hear one preacher in a time before microphones?(7 votes)
- Preachers back then had VERY loud voices to speak to crowds.(11 votes)
- What kind of inspiration would make women want change?(3 votes)
- I would think that the inspiration for women to change, is that they are not just "property" in early 1800s America. There is a chance for women to be equal in heaven. Something along these lines. I hope this helped!(7 votes)
- At3:25,I mean3:38, what does the word "evangelical" in the Bible mean?(3 votes)
- Evangelical believers usually follow a very fundamental form of Christianity and stick to a strict interpretation of things written in the Bible.
In the Bible, the evangelists were Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.(2 votes)
- Was there a first Great Awakening?(1 vote)
- Yes. It happened before the second one.(4 votes)
- which was the first great awakening?(2 votes)
- The First Great Awakening was a series of Christian religious revivals, taking place in Britain and the thirteen colonies during the 1730s and 1740s.(2 votes)
- Why did mostly women participate in the second great awakening?(1 vote)
- For one, women played an active part during the American Revolution, evident in organizations such as the Daughters of Liberty, thus gaining esteem in social status. For another, women like Abigail Adams ("Remember the Ladies") became more vocal on their positions. But the factor that, perhaps, contributes the most to their participation in the Second Great Awakening, was the fact that women made up the majority of the converts. The impacts and implication of this are further elaborated in this article. https://courses.lumenlearning.com/boundless-ushistory/chapter/the-second-great-awakening/(4 votes)
- I'm discouraged to hear this interpretation of Evangelical Christianity, the Bible, salvation, the later days and end times prophecies, and the millennial kingdom. I, personally, don't think that someone who isn't a Christian who studies the Bible deeply should teach concerning these subjects; I've heard many errors and misinterpretations or misconceptions. This is the reason people think badly of Christians. They are simply not accurately informed. I'm sorry. I'm not trying to offend anyone. I simply feel like several Evangelical pastors should probably be consulted when developing a lesson of this nature. Several good ones come to mind, but I'd suggest pretty much any Calvary Chapel pastor....(1 vote)
- Please, my Christian friend, note that the instruction here is based on the historical and sociological documents and records of the time of the great awakening and other factors of that time. In church we are likely to credit things to "the action of the Holy Spirit' or 'the will of God' or 'a great spiritual void and hunger for meaning'. In scholarly study, these are not considered. Things like immigration, economics, ethnic struggle and even availability of good roads and river transportation are considered. The sermons preached at the time, the education of the leaders of these spiritual movements, and the economic and political effects of those movements historically are analyzed.
Nobody is trying to tlk you out of your ardent faith here. Nobody. What you are being offered is a historical context within which to see things like 'the will of God', 'a movement of the Holy Spirit', or 'great spiritual hunger.'
By way of parallel, the spread of the gospel in the first century CE was can be seen as the work of the Holy Spirit as facilitated by good Roman roads, sea transportation on ships that didn't sink, and the political Pax Romana of the time.(4 votes)
- Hey, this is a little bit of a time sensitive question: What are the major differences between the First and Second Great Awakenings? Just asking in case there are any SAQ's or anything like that on the APUSH exam this year.(1 vote)
- The First Great Awakening was a movement in the early-18th century (1730s-40s) that saw a great revival of Evangelicalism within Protestantism.
The Second Great Awakening was an early 19th-century revival spurred on by the uncertainty of life following the Revolution, starting in the frontier as preachers visited settler towns to preach. Unlike the First Great Awakening, the Second saw new religious movements founded--most prominently the Mormons, but also Adventists.(3 votes)
- I think people can over-emphasize millenarianism. If you read the writings of the time, this wasn't a primary focus.(2 votes)
- The Second Great Awakening was one of the most important social, religious, and cultural aspects of the early 19th century in the United States. In fact, I might even make the argument that it's impossible to understand the early 19th century without understanding The Second Great Awakening because as you can see here, it's kind of connected with everything, so what was The Second Great Awakening and why was it such a big deal? The Second Great Awakening was a period of religious revival in the United States where church membership really soared. A lot of people had conversion experiences, meaning that they had a moment where they came to understand their personal relationship with God and want to change their ways to become a more religious individual and give up their ways as sinners. So church membership really soared and lots of new people joined churches, particularly women. Now, you'll note that this is called The Second Great Awakening because there was, in fact, a First Great Awakening, which happened in the 1730s, 1740s and that was the era of Jonathan Edwards and sinners in the hands of an angry God. It was very localized in New England and specifically, with Calvinism or Puritan religious awakenings, so that was a separate event that happened about 100 years before and The Second Great Awakening, as I have drawn here, generally, historians say it lasted from about 1790 to 1850, but I would say that the real heyday of The Second Great Awakening would be from about 1820 to 1840. Those are hazy dates, but that's kind of the hot period of The Second Great Awakening. In this series of videos, I wanna explore some of the aspects that led to The Second Great Awakening, particularly the market revolution and a bunch of other social, political, cultural, and even religious changes that were happening beforehand and then also explore some of the consequences of The Second Great Awakening. What parts of early 19th century American culture are really tied up with this wave in religiosity? So what was The Second Great Awakening like? Well, here's a painting of what I would call kind of the central aspect of The Second Great Awakening, which were camp meetings. So unlike The First Great Awakening, which was definitely a New England thing, The Second Great Awakening took place largely more on the Western part of the United States. Now, when we're talking about Western part, we're talking about Western part circa 1820, which is gonna be Western New York, Kentucky, around Appalachia. These were places that didn't have the kind of strong established church religion that you might have found in a place like Massachusetts and so preachers would set up camp meetings. They'd have a big stage. People would come in tents and they would listen to these preachers and these preachers would attempt to convert the audiences to a more active and particularly, evangelical form of Christianity. Evangelical Christianity comes from this word, evangelical, evangelist, like the four evangelists of the Bible, who were the men who wrote the gospels and the idea of evangelical Christianity was a real strong attachment to the Bible and an attempt to make kind of heaven on Earth, so to make the world below the same as heaven above. So they're kind of trying to bring about a terrestrial paradise, if you will and many of the religious movements that come out of this are particularly concerned with what we would call, really, the apocalypse or in more contemporary terms, sort of millennialism or millenarianism. I know this is a big word, but more or less, the idea that they want Jesus Christ to return to Earth and rule for 1,000 years over a perfect earthly paradise. Now, when you and I think of the apocalypse, we usually think that's a bad thing, but most evangelical Christians in this time period really wanted the apocalypse to happen because it meant that heaven would happen on Earth. Now, these camp meetings were really interesting. You know, they're happening kind of out on the frontier, so it's kinda the coolest show in town, to go see this itinerant preacher. They're often called circuit riders, so that is a preacher who literally rides around on a horse because he does not have an established congregation of his own, so he goes from town to town, setting up meetings, preaching, and hopefully converting people to evangelical Christianity, but the camp meetings of The Second Great Awakening were characterized by a really emotional response from individuals. People who were having conversion experiences and you can see it here in this painting. They would kinda go into fits. They might fall over and shake or bark like a dog because they had been so overcome by this religious spirit. So you can imagine how camp meetings like this, as people heard about them, would've really affected the general populous. If you heard about a story where your friend went off to this camp meeting and they had this incredible conversion experience where they realized how important it was to give up sin and devote one's life to Christianity and working to bring heaven on Earth, you might go check it out yourself. So two of the most famous preachers of The Second Great Awakening were Lyman Beecher, who was based out of Ohio later in his life, and you might be familiar with this name, Beecher, because Lyman Beecher was the father of Harriet Beecher Stowe, who wrote Uncle Tom's Cabin. One of Beecher's concerns was just that society in general in the United States was becoming more secular and taking a very rational approach to religion, as opposed to an emotional approach to religion. He wanted people to feel religion very deeply. He was kind of working toward a period of religious revival and got one in The Second Great Awakening. The other really famous preacher from this time period was Charles Grandison Finney and Finney traveled around and drew just crowds in the thousands. 20,000, 30,000 people might gather to hear him preach and you can notice here that I have Finney and Beecher facing away from each other 'cause they didn't entirely get along. One of the reasons they didn't get along was because Finney approved of women preaching in public, which was definitely a no-no for the time period. So what was unique and new about the theology of The Second Great Awakening? Well, let me give myself a little bit more space here. Well, I've already mentioned some things here. One that, it's taking place out on the frontier in huge ecstatic camp meetings where people were behaving in a way that would have been very strange in a Puritan church, falling down, shaking, shouting aloud and also that it was concerned with this idea of millenarianism or trying to create heaven on Earth to bring about the rapture, to bring about the return of Jesus Christ to Earth for 1,000-year reign. Also, that it served to inspire many converts to be better people, to do good on Earth, to try to bring about this heaven on Earth. Now, contrast this with some of the religious establishment in the United States, specifically the Puritans. Right, Puritans were Calvinists, which meant that they followed the doctrine of John Calvin, which meant that they believed in predestination. Predestination is the idea that before you're born, God already knows and has decided whether or not you are saved, one of the elect or whether you are damned and going to hell, so there's really nothing you can do because either you are one of these elect or you're one of the damned, so your personal actions make no difference in whether or not you're going to get into heaven. The Second Great Awakening really kinda rejects this notion. You can see that in kinda two different ways. One, they do think that it matters if you do good, right? So your time on Earth is not just kind of wading through a veil of tears, waiting until you get to heaven or don't, depending on what your status is, so doing good works, trying to improve the world around you does make a difference in your salvation and we'll see as this goes forward how that really animates people toward all kinds of social reforms in this time period. The other thing this does is really democratizes religion. Right, if the world isn't already separated into the elect and the damned, then anyone has a chance of salvation and you see that in many aspects of The Second Great Awakening. They allow women to preach. Women become really strong members, influential members of these communities of faith. They preach to whites, blacks, free, and enslaved people alike, so all races are eligible for salvation and you also don't have to be a wealthy church father to be influential in religion. You know, people like Lyman Beecher and Charles Finney. They weren't born wealthy. They weren't born as the scions of, say, the Mather family in Massachusetts, which had been one of the most important religious families in Massachusetts, so The Second Great Awakening really attracted lots of poor people, people on the frontier. It wasn't a religion of the elite. Now you don't have to be educated at the seminaries of Harvard or Yale to have a Christian conversion experience. So this is the essence of The Second Great Awakening and in the next video, I'll talk a little bit more about the social forces that caused The Second Great Awakening and the consequences of its proliferation in early 19th century America.