The Second Great Awakening

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Time Period
1790  - 1840
The Second Great Awakening was a diverse bundle of revivals affecting a broad swathe of American religious, political, and public life. Two major events after the turn of the century are often given as the starting point for the Second Great Awakening.

At Cane Ridge, Kentucky, preacher Barton Stone organized a massive week-long revival, which proponents called the greatest outpouring of the Holy Spirit since Pentecost. A simultaneous revival occurred at Yale College in Connecticut where a third of the student body underwent conversion experiences.

The Second Great Awakening benefited from the decline of state-sponsored churches as upstart religious groups competing with older denominations on a more level playing field. Methodism dramatically expanded during this period to become the single largest denomination in the country. Many American Protestants left the older Calvinist tradition for theologies that emphasized human free will in choosing salvation, personal piety, and social reform.
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Methodist Camp Meeting- Wikimedia Commons

Cane Ridge Camp Meeting- Hathi Trust- from Presbyterianism in Paris and Bourbon County, Kentucky by Robert Stuart Sanders

Circuit rider- Internet Archive- from The Heart of Asbury's Journal

Lorenzo Dow preaching- Internet Archive- from Recollections of a Lifetime by S. G. Goodrich

Camp Meeting- Library of Congress, LC-DIG-ds-030915
Book/Journal Source(s)
Ahlstrom, Sydney, 2004. A Religious History of the American People. New Haven: Yale University Press.
Web Page Contributor
Paul Matzko
Affliated with: Pennsylvania State University, Ph.D. in History

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