The Info List - Second Great Awakening

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The SECOND GREAT AWAKENING was a Protestant religious revival during the early 19th century in the United States
United States
. The movement began around 1790, gained momentum by 1800 and, after 1820, membership rose rapidly among Baptist
and Methodist
congregations whose preachers led the movement. It was past its peak by the late 1850s. The Second Great Awakening reflected Romanticism
characterized by enthusiasm, emotion, and an appeal to the super-natural. It rejected the skeptical rationalism and deism of the Enlightenment .

The revivals enrolled millions of new members in existing evangelical denominations and led to the formation of new denominations. Many converts believed that the Awakening heralded a new millennial age . The Second Great Awakening
Great Awakening
stimulated the establishment of many reform movements designed to remedy the evils of society before the anticipated Second Coming
Second Coming
of Jesus Christ.

Historians named the Second Great Awakening
Great Awakening
in the context of the First Great Awakening
Great Awakening
of the 1730s and 1740s and of the Third Great Awakening of the late 1850s to early 1900s. These revivals were part of a much larger Romantic religious movement that was sweeping across Europe at the time, mainly throughout England, Scotland, and Germany.


* 1 Spread of revivals

* 1.1 Background * 1.2 Theology * 1.3 Burned-over district * 1.4 West and Tidewater South * 1.5 West * 1.6 Church membership soars

* 2 Subgroups

* 2.1 Adventism
* 2.2 Holiness movement
Holiness movement
* 2.3 Restoration Movement
Restoration Movement

* 3 Culture and society * 4 Slaves and free Africans * 5 Women * 6 Prominent figures * 7 Political implications * 8 See also * 9 References

* 10 Further reading

* 10.1 Historiography



Like the First Great Awakening
Great Awakening
a half century earlier, the Second reflected Romanticism
characterized by enthusiasm, emotion, and an appeal to the super-natural. It rejected the skepticism, deism , and rationalism left over from the Enlightenment. At about the same time, similar movements flourished in Europe. Pietism
was sweeping German countries. Evangelicalism
was waxing strong in England.

The Second Great Awakening
Great Awakening
occurred in several episodes and over different denominations; however, the revivals were very similar. As the most effective form of evangelizing during this period, revival meetings cut across geographical boundaries, and the movement quickly spread throughout Kentucky, Tennessee and southern Ohio. Each denomination had assets that allowed it to thrive on the frontier. The Methodists had an efficient organization that depended on itinerant ministers, known as circuit riders, who sought out people in remote frontier locations. The circuit riders came from among the common people, which helped them establish rapport with the frontier families they hoped to convert.


Main article: Postmillennialism

Postmillennialism theology dominated American Protestantism
in the first half of the 19th century. Postmillennialists believed that Christ will return to earth after the "millennium", which could entail either a literal 1,000 years or a figurative "long period" of peace and happiness. Christians thus had a duty to purify society in preparation for that return. This duty extended beyond American borders to include Christian Restorationism . George Fredrickson argues that Postmillennial theology "was an impetus to the promotion of Progressive reforms, as historians have frequently pointed out." During the Second Great Awakening
Great Awakening
of the 1830s, some diviners expected the millennium to arrive in a few years. By the 1840s, however, the great day had receded to the distant future, and postmillennialism became a more passive religious dimension of the wider middle-class pursuit of reform and progress.


Main article: Burned-over district

In the early nineteenth century, western New York State
New York State
was called the "burned-over district " because of the highly publicized revivals that crisscrossed the region. Charles Finney , a leading revivalist active in the area, coined the term. Linda K. Pritchard uses statistical data to show that compared to the rest of New York State, the Ohio River Valley in the lower Midwest, and the country as a whole, the religiosity of the Burned-over District was typical rather than exceptional.


On the American Frontier
American Frontier
, evangelical denominations sent missionary preachers and exhorters out to the people in the backcountry, which supported the growth of membership among Methodists and Baptists
. Revivalists' techniques were based on the camp meeting , with its Scottish Presbyterian
roots. Most of the Scots-Irish immigrants before the American Revolutionary War settled in the backcountry of Pennsylvania and down the spine of the Appalachian Mountains.

These denominations were based on an interpretation of man's spiritual equality before God, which led them to recruit members and preachers from a wide range of classes and all races. Baptists
and Methodist
revivals were successful in some parts of the Tidewater in the South, where an increasing number of common planters, plain folk , and slaves were converted.


Main article: Revival of 1800
Revival of 1800

In the newly settled frontier regions, the revival was implemented through camp meetings. These often provided the first encounter for some settlers with organized religion, and they were important as social venues. The camp meeting was a religious service of several days' length with preachers. Settlers in thinly populated areas gathered at the camp meeting for fellowship as well as worship. The sheer exhilaration of participating in a religious revival with crowds of hundreds and perhaps thousands of people inspired the dancing, shouting, and singing associated with these events. The revivals followed an arc of great emotional power, with an emphasis of the individual's sins and need to turn to Christ, restored by a sense of personal salvation. Upon their return home, most converts joined or created small local churches, which grew rapidly. The Second Great Awakening marked a religious transition in society in America. Many Americans from the Calvinist
sect emphasized man's inability to save themselves and that their only way to be saved was from grace from God.

The Revival of 1800
Revival of 1800
in Logan County, Kentucky, began as a traditional Presbyterian
sacramental occasion. The first informal camp meeting began there in June, when people began camping on the grounds of the Red River Meeting House . Subsequent meetings followed at the nearby Gasper River and Muddy River congregations, all three under the ministry of James McGready. One year later, an even larger sacrament occasion was held at Cane Ridge, Kentucky under Barton Stone, attracting perhaps as many as 20,000 people. Numerous Presbyterian
, Baptist
and Methodist
ministers participated in the services. Thanks to such leaders as Barton W. Stone (1772–1844) and Alexander Campbell (1788–1866), the camp meeting revival became a major mode of church expansion for the Methodists and Baptists.

The Cumberland Presbyterian
Church emerged in Kentucky. Cane Ridge was also instrumental in fostering what became known as the Restoration Movement
Restoration Movement
. This was made up of non-denominational churches committed to what they saw as the original, fundamental Christianity of the New Testament. They were committed to individuals' achieving a personal relationship with Christ. Churches with roots in this movement include the Churches of Christ
Churches of Christ
, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) , and the Evangelical Christian Church in Canada


1839 Methodist
camp meeting

The Methodist
circuit riders and local Baptist
preachers made enormous gains; to a lesser extent the Presbyterians gained members, particularly with the Cumberland Presbyterian
Church in sparsely settled areas. As a result, the numerical strength of the Baptists
and Methodists rose relative to that of the denominations dominant in the colonial period—the Anglicans, Presbyterians, Congregationalists. Among the new denominations that grew from the religious ferment of the Second Great Awakening
Great Awakening
are the Churches of Christ
Churches of Christ
, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) , the Seventh-day Adventist Church
Seventh-day Adventist Church
, and the Evangelical Christian Church in Canada . The converts during the Second Great Awakening
Great Awakening
were predominantly female. A 1932 source estimated at least three female converts to every two male converts between 1798 and 1826. Young people (those under 25) also converted in greater numbers, and were the first to convert.



The Advent Movement emerged in the 1830s and 1840s in North America, and was preached by ministers such as William Miller , whose followers became known as Millerites . The name refers to belief in the soon Second Advent of Jesus (popularly known as the Second coming
Second coming
) and resulted in several major religious denominations, including Seventh-day Adventists and Advent Christians .


Main article: Holiness movement
Holiness movement

Though its roots are in the First Great Awakening
Great Awakening
and earlier, a re-emphasis on Wesleyan teachings on sanctification emerged during the Second Great Awakening, leading to a distinction between Mainline Methodism
and Holiness churches.


Main article: Restoration Movement
Restoration Movement
See also: Restorationism

The idea of restoring a "primitive" form of Christianity grew in popularity in the U.S. after the American Revolution
American Revolution
. :89–94 This desire to restore a purer form of Christianity without an elaborate hierarchy contributed to the development of many groups during the Second Great Awakening, including the Mormons , Baptists
and Shakers
. :89 Several factors made the restoration sentiment particularly appealing during this time period: :90–94

* To immigrants in the early 19th century, the land in the United States seemed pristine, edenic and undefiled – "the perfect place to recover pure, uncorrupted and original Christianity" – and the tradition-bound European churches seemed out of place in this new setting. :90 * A primitive faith based on the Bible
alone promised a way to sidestep the competing claims of the many denominations available and for congregations to find assurance of being right without the security of an established national church. :93

The Restoration Movement
Restoration Movement
began during, and was greatly influenced by, the Second Great Awakening. :368 While the leaders of one of the two primary groups making up this movement, Thomas Campbell and Alexander Campbell , resisted what they saw as the spiritual manipulation of the camp meetings, the revivals contributed to the development of the other major branch, led by Barton W. Stone . :368 The Southern phase of the Awakening "was an important matrix of Barton Stone's reform movement" and shaped the evangelistic techniques used by both Stone and the Campbells. :368


Efforts to apply Christian teaching to the resolution of social problems presaged the Social Gospel of the late 19th century. Converts were taught that to achieve salvation they needed not just to repent personal sin but also work for the moral perfection of society, which meant eradicating sin in all its forms. Thus, evangelical converts were leading figures in a variety of 19th century reform movements.

Congregationalists set up missionary societies to evangelize the western territory of the northern tier. Members of these groups acted as apostles for the faith, and also as educators and exponents of northeastern urban culture. The Second Great Awakening
Great Awakening
served as an "organizing process" that created "a religious and educational infrastructure" across the western frontier that encompassed social networks, a religious journalism that provided mass communication, and church-related colleges. :368 Publication and education societies promoted Christian education; most notable among them was the American Bible
Society , founded in 1816. Women made up a large part of these voluntary societies. The Female Missionary Society and the Maternal Association, both active in Utica, NY, were highly organized and financially sophisticated women's organizations responsible for many of the evangelical converts of the New York frontier.

There were also societies that broadened their focus from traditional religious concerns to larger societal ones. These organizations were primarily sponsored by affluent women. They did not stem entirely from the Second Great Awakening, but the revivalist doctrine and the expectation that one's conversion would lead to personal action accelerated the role of women's social benevolence work. Social activism influenced abolition groups and supporters of the Temperance movement . They began efforts to reform prisons and care for the handicapped and mentally ill. They believed in the perfectibility of people and were highly moralistic in their endeavors.




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* v * t * e

and Methodists in the South preached to slaveholders and slaves alike. Conversions and congregations started with the First Great Awakening
Great Awakening
, resulting in Baptist
and Methodist
preachers being authorized among slaves and free African Americans more than a decade before 1800. " Black Harry
Black Harry
" Hosier, an illiterate freedman who drove Francis Asbury on his circuits , proved to be able to memorize large passages of the Bible
verbatim and became a cross-over success, as popular among white audiences as the black ones Asbury had originally intended for him to minister. His sermon at Thomas Chapel in Chapeltown , Delaware
, in 1784 was the first to be delivered by a black preacher directly to a white congregation.

Despite being called the "greatest orator in America" by Benjamin Rush and one of the best in the world by Bishop Thomas Coke , Hosier was repeatedly passed over for ordination and permitted no vote during his attendance at the Christmas Conference that formally established American Methodism. Richard Allen , the other black attendee, was ordained by the Methodists in 1799, but his congregation of free African Americans in Philadelphia left the church there because of its discrimination. They founded the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME) in Philadelphia. After first submitting to oversight by the established Methodist
bishops, several AME congregations finally left to form the first independent African-American denomination in the United States
United States
in 1816. Soon after, the African Methodist
Episcopal Zion Church (AME Zion) was founded as another denomination in New York City.

Early Baptist
congregations were formed by slaves and free African Americans in South Carolina and Virginia. Especially in the Baptist Church, African Americans were welcomed as members and as preachers. By the early 19th century, independent African American congregations numbered in the several hundred in some cities of the South, such as Charleston, South Carolina
Charleston, South Carolina
, and Richmond and Petersburg, Virginia . With the growth in congregations and churches, Baptist
associations formed in Virginia, for instance, as well as Kentucky and other states.

The revival also inspired slaves to demand freedom. In 1800, out of African American revival meetings in Virginia, a plan for slave rebellion was devised by Gabriel Prosser , although the rebellion was discovered and crushed before it started. Despite white attempts to control independent African American congregations, especially after the Nat Turner Uprising of 1831, a number of African American congregations managed to maintain their separation as independent congregations in Baptist
associations. State legislatures passed laws requiring them always to have a white man present at their worship meetings.


Women, who made up the majority of converts during the Awakening, played a crucial role in its development and focus. It is not clear why women converted in larger numbers than men. Various scholarly theories attribute the discrepancy to a reaction to the perceived sinfulness of youthful frivolity, an inherent greater sense of religiosity in women, a communal reaction to economic insecurity, or an assertion of the self in the face of patriarchal rule. Husbands, especially in the South, sometimes disapproved of their wives' conversion, forcing women to choose between submission to God or their spouses. Church membership and religious activity gave women peer support and place for meaningful activity outside the home, providing many women with communal identity and shared experiences.

Despite the predominance of women in the movement, they were not formally indoctrinated or given leading ministerial positions. However, women took other public roles; for example, relaying testimonials about their conversion experience, or assisting sinners (both male and female) through the conversion process. Leaders such as Charles Finney saw women's public prayer as a crucial aspect in preparing a community for revival and improving their efficacy in conversion. Women also took crucial roles in the conversion and religious upbringing of children. During the period of revival, mothers were seen as the moral and spiritual foundation of the family, and were thus tasked with instructing children in matters of religion and ethics.

The greatest change in women's roles stemmed from participation in newly formalized missionary and reform societies. Women's prayer groups were an early and socially acceptable form of women's organization. Through their positions in these organizations, women gained influence outside of the private sphere .

Changing demographics of gender also affected religious doctrine. In an effort to give sermons that would resonate with the congregation, ministers stressed Christ's humility and forgiveness, in what the historian Barbara Welter calls a "feminization" of Christianity.


* Richard Allen , founder, African Methodist
Episcopal Church * Francis Asbury , Methodist, circuit rider and founder of American Methodism
* Henry Ward Beecher
Henry Ward Beecher
, Presbyterian
* Lyman Beecher
Lyman Beecher
, Presbyterian
, his father * Antoinette Brown Blackwell , Congregationalist
& later Unitarian, the first ordained female minister in the United States * Alexander Campbell , Presbyterian, and early leader of the Restoration Movement
Restoration Movement
* Thomas Campbell Presbyterian, then early leader of the Restoration Movement * Peter Cartwright , Methodist
* Lorenzo Dow , Methodist * Timothy Dwight IV
Timothy Dwight IV
, Congregationalist
* Charles Finney , Presbyterian
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* Seventh-day Adventist Church
Seventh-day Adventist Church
portal * Latter Day Saints portal * LDS Church portal

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Christian revival
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The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
* Cumberland Presbyterian
Church * Ethnocultural politics in the United States
United States
* Holiness movement
Holiness movement
* Restoration Movement
Restoration Movement
* Seventh-day Adventist Church
Seventh-day Adventist Church


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on the Eve of the Civil War (1957). * ^ Heyrman, Christine Leigh. "The First Great Awakening". Divining America, TeacherServe. National Humanities Center. * ^ Henry B. Clark (1982). Freedom of Religion in America: Historical Roots, Philosophical Concepts, Contemporary Problems. Transaction Publishers. p. 16. * ^ Nancy Cott , "Young Women in the Second Great Awakening
Great Awakening
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Great Awakening
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John Knox
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Press, 1996): 65 * ^ Morgan, Philip. Slave Counterpoint: Black Culture in the Eighteenth-Century Chesapeake and Lowcountry, p. 655. UNC Press (Chapel Hill ), 1998. Accessed 17 October 2013. * ^ A B Smith, Jessie C. Black Firsts: 4,000 Ground-Breaking and Pioneering Historical Events (3rd ed.), pp. 1820–1821. "Methodists: 1781". Visible Ink Press (Canton ), 2013. Accessed 17 October 2013. * ^ Webb, Stephen H. "Introducing Black Harry
Black Harry
Hoosier: The History Behind Indiana\'s Namesake". Indiana Magazine of History, Vol. XCVIII (March 2002). Trustees of Indiana University. Accessed 17 October 2013. * ^ A B Albert J. Raboteau, Slave Religion: The \'Invisible Institution\' in the Antebellum South, New York: Oxford University Press, 2004, p. 137, accessed 27 Dec 2008 * ^ Alan Brinkley, The Unfinished Nation, p 168 * ^ Susan Hill Lindley, You Have Stept Out of Your Place: a History of Women and Religion in America, 1st paperback ed, (Louisville, Ky: Westminster John Knox
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as an organizing process, 1780–1830: An hypothesis". American Quarterly (1969): 23–43. JSTOR
2710771. * Shiels, Richard D. "The Second Great Awakening
Great Awakening
in Connecticut: Critique of the Traditional Interpretation", Church History 49 (1980): 401–415. JSTOR
3164815. * Varel, David A. "The Historiography of the Second Great Awakening and the Problem of Historical Causation, 1945–2005". Madison Historical Review (2014) 8#4 online

* v * t * e

Restoration Movement
Restoration Movement



* Second Great Awakening * Cane Ridge Revival


* Christians (Stone Movement) * Disciples of Christ (Campbell Movement)


* Last Will and Testament of The Springfield Presbytery * Declaration and Address of the Christian Association of Washington


* Brush Run Church * Christian Association of Washington * Christian Connection * Mahoning Baptist
Association * Redstone Baptist
Association * Springfield Presbytery


* Alexander Campbell * Thomas Campbell * Isaac Errett * Tolbert Fanning * Benjamin Franklin * Marshall Keeble * David Lipscomb * William Lipscomb * Charles J. Lister * Elijah Martindale * John William McGarvey * James O\'Kelly * David Purviance * Walter Scott * "Raccoon" John Smith * Daniel Sommer * Barton W. Stone


* The British Millennial Harbinger * Christian Baptist
* Christian Messenger * Christian Standard * Firm Foundation * Gospel Advocate * Millennial Harbinger

U.S. branches



* North American Christian Convention


* The churches of Christ (non-institutional) * Sponsoring church



Non-U.S. branches

* Churches of Christ
Churches of Christ
in Australia * Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
in Canada * Churches of Christ
Churches of Christ
in Europe * Evangelical Christian Church in Canada


* v * t * e

History of Christianity
History of Christianity

* Centuries:1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th 11th 12th 13th 14th 15th 16th 17th 18th 19th 20th 21st

Ministry of Jesus
Ministry of Jesus
and Apostolic Age

* Jesus

* Ministry * Crucifixion * Resurrection

* Holy Spirit

* Leadership

* Apostles * Seventy disciples
Seventy disciples
* Paul the Apostle
Paul the Apostle
* Council of Jerusalem
Council of Jerusalem

* Great Commission
Great Commission

* New Testament
New Testament

* Background * Gospels * Acts * Pauline epistles
Pauline epistles
* General epistles * Revelation


* Judaism split * Justin Martyr
Justin Martyr
* Ignatius * Persecution * Fathers * Irenaeus
* Marcionism * Canon * Tertullian
* Montanism
* Origen


* Constantine * Monasticism * Councils : Nicaea I * Creed * Athanasius * Arianism * Jerome
* Augustine * Constantinople I * Ephesus I * Chalcedon


* Eastern Orthodoxy * Church of the East
Church of the East
* Oriental Orthodoxy * Chrysostom * Nestorianism
* Iconoclasm * Great Schism * Fall of Constantinople
Fall of Constantinople
* Armenia * Georgia * Greece * Egypt * Syria * Ethiopia * Bulgaria * Ottoman Empire * Russia * America


* Pelagianism
* Gregory I * Celtic * Germanic * Scandinavian * Kievan Rus\' * Investiture * Anselm * Abelard * Bernard of Clairvaux
Bernard of Clairvaux
* Bogomils * Cathars * Crusades
* Waldensians * Inquisition
* Scholasticism
* Dominic * Francis * Bonaventure
* Aquinas * Wycliffe * Avignon * Papal Schism * Bohemian Reformation
* Hus * Conciliarism


* Primacy development * Papacy * Timeline * Lateran IV * Trent * Counter- Reformation
* Thomas More
Thomas More
* Leo X * Guadalupe * Jesuits * Jansenists * Xavier * Monastery dissolution * Wars * Teresa * Vatican I border-left-width:2px;border-left-style:solid;width:100%;padding:0px">


* Erasmus
* Five solae
Five solae
* Eucharist * Calvinist
v. Arminian * Arminianism
* Dort * Wars


* Martin Luther
Martin Luther
* 95 Theses * Diet of Worms * Melanchthon * Orthodoxy * Eucharist * Book of Concord
Book of Concord


* Zwingli * Calvin * Presbyterianism
* Scotland * Knox * TULIP
* Dort * Three Forms of Unity * Westminster


* Timeline * Henry VIII * Cranmer * Settlement * 39 Articles * Common Prayer * Puritans
* Civil War


* Radical Reformation
* Grebel * Swiss Brethren * Müntzer * Martyrs\' Synod * Menno Simons * Smyth


* Revivalism * English denominations * Baptists
* Congregationalism * Great Awakening
Great Awakening
* Methodism
* Millerism * Pietism
* Neo- border-left-width:2px;border-left-style:solid;width:100%;padding:0px">

* Camp meeting
Camp meeting
* Holiness movement
Holiness movement
* Independent Catholic denominations * Second Great Awakening * Restoration Movement
Restoration Movement
* Jehovah\'s Witnesses * Mormonism * Seventh-day Adventist * Adventism
* Third Great Awakening
Great Awakening
* Azusa Revival * Fundamentalism * Ecumenism
* Evangelicalism
* Jesus movement * Mainline Protestant
Mainline Protestant
* Pentecostalism
* Charismatics * Liberation theology * Christian right
Christian right
* Christian left
Christian left
* Genocide by ISIL

* Timeline * Missions Timeline * Martyrs * Theology * Eastern Orthodoxy * Oriental Orthodoxy * Protestantism
* Ca