1688 Mid - 1700s 1763  
Historical Craft Ancient Americas A New World English Colonies Newe England Growing Apart Strangers Revolution Early Republic Antebellum U.S. Civil War
Whitefield Whitefield Photo courtesy of Wikipedia Commons

The Great Awakening

Beginning near the middle 1700s and lasting for a dozen years, the Great Awakening challenged both Scientific and Puritan thinking. George Whitefield brought from England a new style of preaching, which was flamboyant (by comparison to stiff Puritan sermons), drew immense crowds, and served to give a sense of unity to the colonists. When Whitefield would address a crowd in Virginia, for example, he might inform the crowd that they were just like their brethren in Massachusetts in their response to his message. As Puritans, Deists, and the non-religious criticized these “enthusiastic” gatherings, Jonathan Edwards used scientific reasoning to defend them. Edwards agreed that passion and strange behavior were not evidence of spiritual substance. However, Edwards argued, a changed life was. Indeed, the multitude of changed lives which resulted seemed to satisfy the scientific need for “material” evidence and results while allowing the “immaterial” to remain a viable part of the American experience.