Second Great Awakening

The Second Great Awakening was a Protestant religious revival during the early 19th century in the United States. The Second Great Awakening, which spread religion through revivals and emotional preaching, sparked a number of reform movements. Revivals were a key part of the movement and attracted hundreds of converts to new Protestant denominations. The Methodist Church used circuit riders to reach people in frontier locations. The Second Great Awakening led to a period of antebellum social reform and an emphasis on salvation by institutions. The outpouring of religious fervor and revival began in Kentucky and Tennessee in the 1790s and early 1800s among the Presbyterians, Methodists and Baptists.

A Methodist camp meeting in 1819 (hand colored engraving)

It led to the founding of several well known colleges, seminaries, and mission societies. The Great Awakening notably altered the religious climate in the American colonies. Ordinary people were encouraged to make a personal connection with God, instead of relying on a minister. Newer denominations, such as Methodists and Baptists, grew quickly. While the movement unified the colonies and boosted church growth, experts say[which?] it also caused division.

Historians named the Second Great Awakening in the context of the First Great Awakening of the 1730s and 1750s and of the Third Great Awakening of the late 1850s to early 1900s. The First Awakening was part of a much larger Romantic religious movement that was sweeping across England, Scotland, and Germany.[1]

New religious movements emerged during the Second Great Awakening, such as Adventism, Dispensationalism, and the Latter Day Saint movement.


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