The Great Awakening refers to the spiritual revitalization that swept across New England colonies in the 18th century, which sparked renewed religious activity in America. Many preachers participated in the dynamic transformation of the faithful and followers of the traditional Protestantism like Jonathan Edwards and George Whitefield. This radical religious change instilled a sense of personal revelation of salvation by Jesus Christ. As it created numerous changes in the view of leadership of the religious groups and means of expressing ideas and opinions for spiritual growth, individuals felt that bible teachings were addressing their needs. The impacts of this move not only affected the religious groupings but also had immense effect on the political leadership and reign of in the American territory. Passion and commitment in the radical changes contributed significantly to the growth of American nationalism.
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Unity of the Great Awakening made drastic effects on the English politics and religion by condemning the hierarchical form of leadership. The people gain understanding that leadership was received from other people rather the endowment of leadership due to one’s background. By knowing that authority from God could be manifested to anyone other than rulers and leaders, people established a notion that political leadership too was a contract between people and the leader (Edwards 198). From the establishment of the relationship that existed between the church and the faithful, a consensus was reached that the church demanded obedience from the people while the church ought to provide teachings on righteousness and morality. People developed the concept of democracy in any grouping and the need to consider changes and ideas of other people. This created independence in the choice of leadership and provided the insight of formation of consensual government.
Meanwhile, the search of independence in religious practices and norms influenced by the Great Awakening preachers led to the review of the covenant of God with America. The call made stern condemnation to the materialistic, acquisitive and corrupt world that was prevalent in the colonial society. This corruption practices were diverse because of the long chain of authority that existed between the colonies and the mother country. Awakening prompted the fight and eagerness for self-governance and leadership that exhibited morality and obedience of its people. Moreover, the Awakening move led to the removal of the disparity in class systems that grouped people and fought to protect the elite mostly. Awakening preachers sought to establish fairness, considered all people to be equal, and have the same standing in the eyes of God.
Evangelism of the Awakening leaders led to the indulgent that all people were alike and received the same consideration in the eyes of God. This mentality impelled the Americans to defy the Empire of the British by the unity initiated by the rationalists and evangelicals (Kidd, p. 254). Though the British tried to compel its colonies against the formation of multiple denomination, the defiance grew steadily and its forces were no longer controllable that later led to the American Revolution in it search for independence. The dictatorship leadership and the crucial weakness that surfaced in their leadership systems triggered most of these actions.
A call by the Awakening preachers for a religion that was for commerce envisioned was crucial towards America’s revolution. Most of the old denominations of the colonist taught religion as a social cooperation that embraced communitarian system. Because of the practice of this system, many people were influenced to be benevolent and make self-sacrifices. Such mentality created a sense of dependence on the colonies at the time of needs and acceptance of their demand. After the establishment of the Great Awakening move, the need of personal wealth consideration and value was instilled in the mindset of the people. As a result, during the defiance of the empire rule the people were independent and could fight for their political favors with ease. Generally, the Great Awakening is viewed as having contributed significantly to the American Revolution.
- Edwards, Jonathan, and C. C. Goen. The Great Awakening. [Rev. ed. New Haven, Conn. ; London: Yale University Press, 2009. Print.
- Kidd, Thomas S.. The great awakening: the roots of evangelical Christianity in colonial America. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2007. Print.