Post #22: The Second Great Awakening

The first Great Awakening was a pushback and rejection of the Enlightenment. Long after, people were beginning to stray a little bit away from the strict religious beliefs that they used to adhere to. Some began to follow a belief called unitarianism in which God is like a clockmaker who makes the Earth and then leaves to let the people run their course. While this appealed to intellectuals, others were not convinced that God played such a passive role. With the second Great Awakening coming upon Americans to stop the movement away from religion, tent revivals were popularized. In 1801m in Cambridge Kentucky, as many as 25,000 people gathered to hear hellfire sermons during religious camp meetings. Peter Cartwright was the best known Methodist traveling preacher. He was known as a circuit rider. Arguably the most important figure of the second Great Awakening was Charles Grandison Finney. Finney was the most famous of the revival preachers. He believed in a philosophy called “earthly perfectionism,” which meant that he believed that the earth could become perfect if everyone converted. He believed that conversion could be instant and therefore, if someone converted they could instantly become perfect. Finney’s beliefs inspired other major reform movements including education, temperance, and abolition.


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