The Second Great Awakening

American History to 1877

Religion and the New Nation

    Religion essential to morals of republic

    Most states keep tax-supported churches

    Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, 1786

Jefferson, Madison, Baptists, and Presbyterians vs. Anglicans

Jefferson: religion a private opinion; state should not impose opinions

Baptists: America not a “Christian nation”; separation of church and state

    Disestablishment’s slow progress elsewhere

Vermont 1807; Connecticut 1818; New Hampshire 1819; Massachusetts 1833

    Baptists and the First Amendment, 1790

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

1790s: Is religion dead?

    French Revolution, 1793

    New England ministers worry

Victory of rationalism?

    Revivalism quiet

    Jefferson’s victory in 1800

Official atheism?

Revivalism returns

    Presbyterians on the Kentucky frontier

    Cane Ridge, 1801: “America’s Pentecost”

First large camp-meeting

  Perhaps 20,000 attend


    John Wesley (1703-1791)

    Success of the circuit rider

    Methodist meetings

Arminian theology (anti-Calvinist)

Emotional religion

Dreams and visions

Miraculous healings, speaking in tongues

    Methodists embrace camp-meetings


    Methodist Camp-Meeting Plan, 1809


    Methodist Camp-Meeting, 1819


    Methodist Camp Meeting, 1839

Camp Meetings

    Lorenzo Dow and the “jerking exercise”

    Presbyterians recoil from Cane Ridge

    Baptists grow reluctant

African Americans & Revival

    Attraction of emotional spirituality

    African elements

Ring shouts

Call and response hymns

Fire in the “Burnt-Over District”

    Settlement after 1815

Erie Canal opens New York & Great Lakes

Godless frontier?

    Charles Grandison Finney

Presbyterian minister

  Rejects Calvinism

“New measures”

  “Protracted meeting”

  Role of women

Fervor sweeps the nation

    1820s-1836: High expectations

    America: a new kind of nation

Freed from constraints of history

    Confidence that all would be solved

1800 years of error to be overcome

    New expectations of Second Coming

Finney: evangelize the world in 3 years


   William Miller

Predicts millennium 1843

Recalculated for 1844

The “Great Disappointment”

  Hiram Edson: cleansing of temple in heaven

    Seventh-Day Adventists, 1860-63



    Dismay at proliferation of churches

Goal of Christian unity recedes

    Disciples of Christ/Churches of Christ

Alexander Campbell, 1808

  “Where the Scriptures speak, we speak;
where the Scriptures are silent, we are silent”

  Simple creed; radical ecclesiology

Popular on frontier, along Ohio River

The Mormons

    Joseph Smith, Palmyra, NY

Confusion of denominations

Treasure seeker

Angel Moroni, Mt. Cumorah, golden plates

  Translation of Book of Mormon, 1830

    Restoration of the true church

    Conversion in Kirtland, Ohio

    Battle in Far West, Missouri, 1839

The Mormon Zion

    Nauvoo, Illinois

    Schism & strange new doctrines



    Arrested for destroying presses

Killed by mob, 1844

    Brigham Young

Trek to Utah, 1846-48

Democratization of religion

    Faith in the “common man”

Priesthood of all believers: right to decide for oneself

Sola scriptura: pure Bible, pure doctrine

    Arminianism replaces Calvinism

    Vernacular preaching

    Mass-market religious press

    Ministers: From office to profession

    Feminization of Christianity

    Christianization of the nation

Association of nation with Protestantism