Archive for August, 2013

Questions over Chapter 6

Questions over Chapter 6, The Duel for North America, 1608-1763
Due Tuesday, September 3.

HANDWRITTEN. ANSWER FULLY.

1. How/why was America involved in European wars, beginning in the 17th century?
2. What conditions in France had prevented French colonization efforts in the New World? What role did disease play on early colonization efforts?
3. Who was the “Father of New France,” and where exactly was “New France?”
4. Compare the government of New France with that of the English colonies.
5. What was the fur French trappers and traders were most interested in?
6. What negative effects did French contact have upon the Native peoples?
7. Compare French missionaries to Spanish missionaries. What were the main differences as well as similarities?
8. Why was control of Louisiana important to the French?
9. What were the main military tactics used in the early wars between Britain and France?
10. What influence did the Treaty of Utrecht have on British-colonial relations?
11. Why was the War of Jenkins’ Ear important, besides having one of the coolest names for a war in terms of weirdness?
12. What effect did the status of Louisbourg have on New England colonists?
13. What was the main area being fought over between the British and the French? Why was it important for Beach country to gain control of this area?
14. What role did George Washington play in the start of the Seven Years’ War in America? What was the other name for this war? Who were the French allies in the war, both here and in Europe?
15. What was the overall goal of the Albany Congress? What was the specific goal? Who was the moving force behind this gathering?
16. What did the Albany Congress demonstrate about questions of autonomy and cooperation in the colonies?
17. How was the Seven Years’ War different from the first three Anglo-French wars?
18. Explain the symbolism in Ben Franklin’s political cartoon published about the Albany Congress. What was he trying to say?
19. General Braddock’s defeat near Fort Necessity had what practical effect?
20 . How did William Pitt change British strategy in the war to help ensure victory, and what Battle then reflected his new strategy?
21. Describe the main provisions of the Peace of Paris that ended the French and Indian War.
22. What effect did the war have on colonial attitudes toward the British? Explain. What impact did the war have on inter-colonial relations?
23. What were the barriers to colonial unity before the French and Indian War?
24. What impact did the removal of the French threat upon their frontier have upon the colonists? What did they assume would be the benefit to them, and in what ways was this hope disappointed?
25. What impact did Pontiac’s Rebellion have upon British colonial policy? What is the connection to the Proclamation of 1763? How did the colonists respond to the Proclamation?

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Blog readings questions- Ch. 5

Questions to consider:
1. Which of the Enlightenment thinkers seem to express sympathy for Christianity?
2. What does Rousseau claim is the purpose for laws?
3. What does Hobbes say about the equality of humankind?
4. What was the purpose of the ads taken out by the husbands in the Runaway wives post? What did the wives claim?
5. In the Edwards piece, what are three images used to describe God’s anger besides holding a spider over a fiery pit?
6. In the Overview I posted, How did Connecticut try to prevent itinerant preachers from being able to evangelize there?
7. In the Overview, How did the Great Awakening help encourage the separation of church and state?
8. In the Heyrman article, who were two Anglican clergymen (and brothers) who allied with George Whitefield to try to reform the Church of England– and later founded Methodism?
9. According to Heyrman, what were two denominations who gained members who disapproved of the emotional excesses of the Great Awakening?
10. According to Heyrman, what was actually similar in the message of the New Lights with the orthodox Puritan beliefs? What was the main difference?

Quotes by Enlightenment Thinkers

“Being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty, or possessions.” – Second Treatise on Government, John Locke

“Though the earth and all inferior creatures be common to all men, yet every man has a “property” in his own “person.” This nobody has any right to but himself. The “labour” of his body and the “work” of his hands, we may say, are properly his. Whatsoever, then, he removes out of the state that Nature hath provided and left it in, he hath mixed his labour with it, and joined to it something that is his own, and thereby makes it his property. It being by him removed from the common state Nature placed it in, it hath by this labour something annexed to it that excludes the common right of other men. For this “labour” being the unquestionable property of the labourer, no man but he can have a right to what that is once joined to, at least where there is enough, and as good left in common for others.” – Second Treatise on Government, John Locke

“In the state of nature, indeed, all men are born equal, but they cannot continue in this equality. Society makes them lose it, and they recover it only by the protection of the law.”- The Spirit of Laws, Baron de Montesquieu

“There is no greater tyranny than that which is perpetrated under the shield of the law and in the name of justice.” – The Spirit of Laws, Baron de Montesquieu

“Every man having been born free and master of himself, no one else may under any pretext whatever subject him without his consent. To assert that the son of a slave is born a slave is to assert that he is not born a man.” – The Social Contract, Jean-Jacques Rousseau

“In truth, laws are always useful to those with possessions and harmful to those who have nothing; from which it follows that the social state is advantageous to men only when all possess something and none has too much.” – The Social Contract, Jean-Jacques Rousseau

“What, then, is the government? An intermediary body established between the subjects and the sovereign for their mutual communication, a body charged with the execution of the laws and the maintenance of freedom, both civil and political.” – The Social Contract, Jean-Jacques Rousseau

“Now, now my good man, this is no time to be making enemies.” – Voltaire (on his deathbed in response to a priest asking him that he renounce Satan.)

“In default of any other proof, the thumb would convince me of the existence of a God.”– Isaac Newton

“God created everything by number, weight and measure.” – Isaac Newton

“Nature hath made men so equal in the faculties of body and mind as that, though there be found one man sometimes manifestly stronger in body or of quicker mind than another, yet when all is reckoned together the difference between man & man is not so considerable as that one man can thereupon claim to himself any benefit to which another may not pretend as well as he. For as to the strength of body, the weakest has strength enough to kill the strongest, either by secret machination or by confederacy with others that are in the same danger with himself.” – Leviathan, Thomas Hobbes

Runaway Wives of the 18th century

What recourse did wives have in America if they found their marriages intolerable and yet could not obtain a divorce? Here’s what sometimes happened in the 18th century. From the Pennsylvania Gazette’s classified advertising section (legal notices):

“March 25, 1742:

Whereas ELIZABETH DUNLAP, Wife of JAMES DUNLAP of Piles Grove, Salem County in the Province of New-Jersey, hath lately eloped from the said James Dunlap her Husband. These are therefore to forewarn and forbid any Person to trust said Elizabeth for any Goods or other things whatsoever for that her said Husband will pay no Debt or Debts contracted by her after the Date hereof….”

“June 17, 1742:

Whereas JAMES DUNLAP, of Piles Grove, of Piles Grove, in the County of Salem, in the Province of New-Jersey, by an advertisement lately inserted in the American Weekly Mercury and in the Pennsylvania Gazette, did publish the elopement of ELIZABETH DUNLAP his Wife, and forewarned all Persons to trust her for any goods or other things, etc.

These are therefore to certify all Persons whom it may concern, that the contents of said advertisement as to the elopement of the said Elizabeth is utterly false, for the said Elizabeth never eloped from the said James Dunlap her Husband, but was obliged in safety of her life to leave her said Husband because of his threats and cruel abuse for several years past repeatedly offered and done to her, and that she went no farther than her Father’s House in said country, where she has resided ever since her departure from her said Husband, and still continues to reside. And the same James Dunlap having a considerable estate in lands in the said county, which the said Elizabeth is informed he intends to sell as soon as he can, she therefore thought proper to give this notice to any Person or Persons that may offer to buy, that she will not join in the sale of any part of said lands, but that she intends to claim her thirds (or right of dower) of and in all the lands the said James Dunlap has been seized and possessed of since their intermarriage whosoever may purchase the same. — Elizabeth Dunlap.”

____________________________________________________

“July 31, 1746:

Whereas MARY, the Wife of JOHN FENBY, Porter, hath eloped from her said Husband without any cause; this is to forewarn all Persons not to trust her on his Account; for he will pay no Debts she shall contract from the Date hereof.”

“August 7, 1746:

Whereas JOHN, the Husband of MARY FENBY, hath advertis’d her in this Paper, as eloped from him, &c., tho’ ’tis well known, they parted by Consent, and agreed to divide their Goods in a Manner which he has not yet been so just as fully to comply with, but detains her Bed and Wedding Ring: And as she neither has, nor desires to run him in Debt, believing her own Credit to be full as good as his; so she desires no one should trust him on her Account, for neither will she pay any Debts of his contracting.– MARY FENBY”

Excerpt: Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God

This is an excerpt of the famous sermon by the Rev. Jonathan Edwards. It was given in Enfield, Massachusetts (which is now in Connecticut) in 1741. This is a good example of the types of sermons used to revive religious piety during the First Great Awakening. Here is a link (http://edwards.yale.edu/major-works/sinners-in-the-hands-of-an-angry-god/) to other works of Jonathan Edwards from Yale University.

As you read, consider what Edwards is trying to do with his descriptions, and note the vivid imagery employed.

Jonathan Edwards, 1741
…The observation from the words that I would not insist upon is this. “There is nothing that keeps wicked men at any one moment out of hell, but the mere pleasure of God.” By the mere pleasure of God, I mean his sovereign pleasure, his arbitrary will, restrained by no obligation, hindered by no manner of difficulty, any more than if nothing else but God’s mere will had in the least degree, or in any respect whatsoever, any hand in the preservation of wicked men one moment. The truth of this observation may appear by the following considerations.

1. There is no want of power in God to cast wicked men into hell at any moment. Men’s hands cannot be strong when God rises up. The strongest have no power to resist him, nor can any deliver out of his hands. He is not only able to cast wicked men into hell, but he can most easily do it. Sometimes an earthly prince meets with a great deal of difficulty to subdue a rebel, who has found means to fortify himself, and has made himself strong by the numbers of his followers. But it is not so with God. There is no fortress that is any defence from the power of God. Though hand join in hand, and vast multitudes of God’s enemies combine and associate themselves, they are easily broken in pieces. They are as great heaps of light chaff before the whirlwind; or large quantities of dry stubble before devouring flames. We find it easy to tread on and crush a worm that we see crawling on the earth; so it is easy for us to cut or singe a slender thread that any thing hangs by: thus easy is it for God, when he pleases, to cast his enemies down to hell. What are we, that we should think to stand before him, at whose rebuke the earth trembles, and before whom the rocks are thrown down?

2. They deserve to be cast into hell; so that divine justice never stands in the way, it makes no objection against God’s using his power at any moment to destroy them. Yea, on the contrary, justice calls aloud for an infinite punishment of their sins. Divine justice says of the tree that brings forth such grapes of Sodom, “Cut it down, why cumbereth it the ground?” (Luke 13:7). The sword of divine justice is every moment brandished over their heads, and it is nothing but the hand of arbitrary mercy, and God’s mere will, that holds it back.

3. They are already under a sentence of condemnation to hell. They do not only justly deserve to be cast down thither, but the sentence of the law of God, that eternal and immutable rule of righteousness that God has fixed between him and mankind, is gone out against them, and stands against them; so that they are bound over already to hell. “He that believeth not is condemned already” (John 3:18). So that every unconverted man properly belongs to hell; that is his place; from thence he is. “Ye are from beneath” (John 8:23). And thither he is bound; it is the place that justice, and God’s word, and the sentence of his unchangeable law assign to him.

4. They are now the objects of that very same anger and wrath of God, that is expressed in the torments of hell. And the reason why they do not go down to hell at each moment, is not because God, in whose power they are, is not then very angry with them; as he is with many miserable creatures now tormented in hell, who there feel and bear the fierceness of his wrath. Yea, God is a great deal more angry with great numbers that are now on earth: yea, doubtless, with many that are now in this congregation, who it may be are at ease, than he is with many of those who are now in the flames of hell.

So that it is not because God is unmindful of their wickedness, and does not resent it, that he does not let loose his hand and cut them off. God is not altogether such a one as themselves, though they may imagine him to be so. The wrath of God burns against them, their damnation does not slumber; the pit is prepared, the fire is made ready, the furnace is now hot, ready to receive them; the flames do now rage and glow. The glittering sword is whet, and held over them, and the pit hath opened its mouth under them.

5. The devil stands ready to fall upon them, and seize them as his own, at what moment God shall permit him. They belong to him; he has their souls in his possession, and under his dominion. The Scripture represents them as his goods (Luke 11:12). The devils watch them; they are ever by them at their right hand; they stand waiting for them, like greedy hungry lions that see their prey, and expect to have it, but are for the present kept back. If God should withdraw his hand, by which they are restrained, they would in one moment fly upon their poor souls. The old serpent is gaping for them; hell opens its mouth wide to receive them; and if God should permit it, they would be hastily swallowed up and lost.

6. There are in the souls of wicked men those hellish principles reigning, that would presently kindle and flame out into hell fire, if it were not for God’s restraints. There is laid in the very nature of carnal men, a foundation for the torments of hell. There are those corrupt principles, in reigning power in them, and in full possession of them, that are seeds of hell fire. These principles are active and powerful, exceeding violent in their nature, and if it were not for the restraining hand of God upon them, they would soon break out, they would flame out after the same manner as the same corruptions, the same enmity does in the hearts of damned souls, and would beget the same torments as they do in them. The souls of the wicked are in Scripture compared to the troubled sea (Is. 62:20). For the present, God restrains their wickedness by his mighty power, as he does the raging waves of the troubled sea, saying, “Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further;” but if God should withdraw that restraining power, it would soon carry all before it. Sin is the ruin and misery of the soul; it is destructive in its nature; and if God should leave it without restraint, there would need nothing else to make the soul perfectly miserable. The corruption of the heart of man is immoderate and boundless in its fury; and while wicked men live here, it is like fire pent up by God’s restraints, whereas if it were let loose, it would set on fire the course of nature; and as the heart is now a sink of sin, so if sin was not restrained, it would immediately turn the soul into a fiery oven, or a furnace of fire and brimstone.

7. It is no security to wicked men for one moment, that there are no visible means of death at hand. It is no security to a natural man, that he is now in health, and that he does not see which way he should now immediately go out of the world by any accident, and that there is no visible danger in any respect in his circumstances. The manifold and continual experience of the world in all ages, shows this is no evidence, that a man is not on the very brink of eternity, and that the next step will not be into another world. The unseen, unthought-of ways and means of persons going suddenly out of the world are innumerable and inconceivable. Unconverted men walk over the pit of hell on a rotten covering, and there are innumerable places in this covering so weak that they will not bear their weight, and these places are not seen. The arrows of death fly unseen at noonday; the sharpest sight cannot discern them. God has so many different unsearchable ways of taking wicked men out of the world and sending them to hell, that there is nothing to make it appear, that God had need to be at the expense of a miracle, or go out of the ordinary course of his providence, to destroy any wicked man, at any moment. All the means that there are of sinners going out of the world, are so in God’s hands, and so universally and absolutely subject to his power and determination, that it does not depend at all the less on the mere will of God, whether sinners shall at any moment go to hell, than if means were never made use of, or at all concerned in the case.

8. Natural men’s prudence and care to preserve their own lives, or the care of others to preserve them, do not secure them a moment. To this, divine providence and universal experience do also bear testimony. There is this clear evidence that men’s own wisdom is no security to them from death; that if it were otherwise we should see some difference between the wise and politic men of the world, and others, with regard to their liableness to early and unexpected death: but how is it in fact? “How dieth the wise man? even as the fool” (Eccl. 2:16).

9. All wicked men’s pains and contrivance which they use to escape hell, while they continue to reject Christ, and so remain wicked men, do not secure them from hell one moment. Almost every natural man that hears of hell, flatters himself that he shall escape it; he depends upon himself for his own security; he flatters himself in what he has done, in what he is now doing, or what he intends to do. Every one lays out matters in his own mind how he shall avoid damnation, and flatters himself that he contrives well for himself, and that his schemes will not fail. They hear indeed that there are but few saved, and that the greater part of men that have died heretofore are gone to hell; but each one imagines that he lays out matters better for his own escape than others have done. He does not intend to come to that place of torment; he says within himself, that he intends to take effectual care, and to order matters so for himself as not to fail.

But the foolish children of men miserably delude themselves in their own schemes, and in confidence in their own strength and wisdom; they trust to nothing but a shadow. The greater part of those who heretofore have lived under the same means of grace, and are now dead, are undoubtedly gone to hell; and it was not because they were not as wise as those who are now alive: it is not because they did not lay out matters as well for themselves to secure their own escape. If we could speak with them, and inquire of them, one by one, whether they expected, when alive, and when they used to hear about hell, ever to be the subjects of that misery: we doubtless, should hear one and another reply, “No, I never intended to come here: I had laid out matters otherwise in my mind; I thought I should contrive well for myself: I thought my scheme good. I intended to take effectual care; but it came upon me unexpected; I did not look for it at that time, and in that manner; it came as a thief: Death outwitted me: God’s wrath was too quick for me. Oh, my cursed foolishness! I was flattering myself, and pleasing myself with vain dreams of what I would do hereafter; and when I was saying, Peace and safety, then suddenly destruction came upon me.”

10. God has laid himself under no obligation, by any promise to keep any natural man out of hell one moment. God certainly has made no promises either of eternal life, or of any deliverance or preservation from eternal death, but what are contained in the covenant of grace, the promises that are given in Christ, in whom all the promises are yea and amen. But surely they have no interest in the promises of the covenant of grace who are not the children of the covenant, who do not believe in any of the promises, and have no interest in the Mediator of the covenant.

So that, whatever some have imagined and pretended about promises made to natural men’s earnest seeking and knocking, it is plain and manifest, that whatever pains a natural man takes in religion, whatever prayers he makes, till he believes in Christ, God is under no manner of obligation to keep him a moment from eternal destruction.

So that, thus it is that natural men are held in the hand of God, over the pit of hell; they have deserved the fiery pit, and are already sentenced to it; and God is dreadfully provoked, his anger is as great towards them as to those that are actually suffering the executions of the fierceness of his wrath in hell, and they have done nothing in the least to appease or abate that anger, neither is God in the least bound by any promise to hold them up one moment; the devil is waiting for them, hell is gaping for them, the flames gather and flash about them, and would fain lay hold on them, and swallow them up; the fire bent up in their own hearts is struggling to break out: and they have no interest in any Mediator, there are no means within reach that can be any security to them. In short, they have no refuge, nothing to take hold of; all that preserves them every moment is the mere arbitrary will, and uncovenanted, unobliged forbearance of an incensed God.

APPLICATION
The use of this awful subject may be for awakening unconverted persons in this congregation. This that you have heard is the case of every one of you that are out of Christ. That world of misery, that lake of burning brimstone, is extended abroad under you. There is the dreadful pit of the glowing flames of the wrath of God; there is hell’s wide gaping mouth open; and you have nothing to stand upon, nor any thing to take hold of; there is nothing between you and hell but the air; it is only the power and mere pleasure of God that holds you up.

You probably are not sensible of this; you find you are kept out of hell, but do not see the hand of God in it; but look at other things, as the goodstate of your bodily constitution, your care of your own life, and the means you use for your own preservation. But indeed these things are nothing; if God should withdraw his hand, they would avail no more to keep you from falling, than the thin air to hold up a person that is suspended in it.

Your wickedness makes you as it were heavy as lead, and to tend downwards with great weight and pressure towards hell; and if God should let you go, you would immediately sink and swiftly descend and plunge into the bottomless gulf, and your healthy constitution, and your own care and prudence, and best contrivance, and all your righteousness, would have no more influence to uphold you and keep you out of hell, than a spider’s web would have to stop a fallen rock. Were it not for the sovereign pleasure of God, the earth would not bear you one moment; for you are a burden to it; the creation groans with you; the creature is made subject to the bondage of your corruption, not willingly; the sun does not willingly shine upon you to give you light to serve sin and Satan; the earth does not willingly yield her increase to satisfy your lusts; nor is it willingly a stage for your wickedness to be acted upon; the air does not willingly serve you for breath to maintain the flame of life in your vitals, while you spend your life in the service of God’s enemies. God’s creatures are good, and were made for men to serve God with, and do not willingly subserve to any other purpose, and groan when they are abused to purposes so directly contrary to their nature and end. And the world would spew you out, were it not for the sovereign hand of him who hath subjected it in hope. There are black clouds of God’s wrath now hanging directly over your heads, full of the dreadful storm, and big with thunder; and were it not for the restraining hand of God, it would immediately burst forth upon you. The sovereign pleasure of God, for the present, stays his rough wind; otherwise it would come with fury, and your destruction would come like a whirlwind, and you would be like the chaff of the summer threshing floor.

The wrath of God is like great waters that are damned for the present; they increase more and more, and rise higher and higher, till an outlet is given; and the longer the stream is stopped, the more rapid and mighty is its course, when once it is let loose. It is true, that judgment against your evil works has not been executed hitherto; the floods of God’s vengeance have been withheld; but your guilt in the mean time is constantly increasing, and you are every day treasuring up more wrath; the waters are constantly rising, and waxing more and more mighty; and there is nothing but the mere pleasure of God, that holds the waters back, that are unwilling to be stopped, and press hard to go forward. If God should only withdraw his hand from the flood-gate, it would immediately fly open, and the fiery floods of the fierceness and wrath of God, would rush forth with inconceivable fury, and would come upon you with omnipotent power; and if your strength were ten thousand times greater than it is, yea, ten thousand times greater than the strength of the stoutest, sturdiest devil in hell, it would be nothing to withstand or endure it.

The bow of God’s wrath is bent, and the arrow made ready on the string, and justice bends the arrow at your heart, and strains the bow, and it is nothing but the mere pleasure of God, and that of an angry God, without any promise or obligation at all, that keeps the arrow one moment from being made drunk with your blood. Thus all you that never passed under a great change of heart, by the mighty power of the Spirit of God upon your souls; all you that were never born again, and made new creatures, and raised from being dead in sin, to a state of new, and before altogether unexperienced light and life, are in the hands of an angry God. However you may have reformed your life in many things, and may have had religious affections, and may keep up a form of religion in your families and closets, and in the house of God, it is nothing but his mere pleasure that keeps you from being this moment swallowed up in everlasting destruction. However unconvinced you may now be of the truth of what you hear, by and by you will be fully convinced of it. Those that are gone from being in the like circumstances with you, see that it was so with them; for destruction came suddenly upon most of them; when they expected nothing of it, and while they were saying, Peace and safety: now they see, that those things on which they depended for peace and safety, were nothing but thin air and empty shadows.

The God that holds you over the pit of hell, much as one holds a spider, or some loathsome insect over the fire, abhors you, and is dreadfully provoked: his wrath towards you burns like fire; he looks upon you as worthy of nothing else, but to be cast into the fire; he is of purer eyes than to bear to have you in his sight; you are ten thousand times more abominable in his eyes, than the most hateful venomous serpent is in ours. You have offended him infinitely more than ever a stubborn rebel did his prince; and yet it is nothing but his hand that holds you from falling into the fire every moment. It is to be ascribed to nothing else, that you did not go to hell the last night; that you were suffered to awake again in this world, after you closed your eyes to sleep. And there is no other reason to be given, why you have not dropped into hell since you arose in the morning, but that God’s hand has held you up. There is no other reason to be given why you have not gone to hell, since you have sat here in the house of God, provoking his pure eyes by your sinful wicked manner of attending his solemn worship. Yea, there is nothing else that is to be given as a reason why you do not this very moment drop down into hell.

O sinner! Consider the fearful danger you are in: it is a great furnace of wrath, a wide and bottomless pit, full of the fire of wrath, that you are held over in the hand of that God, whose wrath is provoked and incensed as much against you, as against many of the damned in hell. You hang by a slender thread, with the flames of divine wrath flashing about it, and ready every moment to singe it, and burn it asunder; and you have no interest in any Mediator, and nothing to lay hold of to save yourself, nothing to keep off the flames of wrath, nothing of your own, nothing that you ever have done, nothing that you can do, to induce God to spare you one moment….

Overview: The First Great Awakening

The roots of the Great Awakening of the early 18th century lie in several places, not the least of which was the challenge that the Enlightenment posed to religious faith. Although the revivalism of the Great Awakening influenced England and all the American colonies, we will focus here on how the religious movement unfolded in New England. There, the Puritans were at the same time experiencing internal stresses as the number of people who met the requirements for church membership dwindled. Enlightenment thought challenged common assumptions and inverted the traditional primacy of faith over reason. The Great Awakening was a reaction to these challenges.

The scientific movement known as the Enlightenment spread from Europe to America. Common names associated with this time of flowering rationalism include Sir Isaac Newton and John Locke. Newton’s theories about the laws that governed the motions of celestial bodies showed that the tracks the stars and planets traced through the sky were predictable and could be understood by humans. Likewise, Locke, in his Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1690) argued that children were not born with innate knowledge planted in them by God, but were instead capable of reasoning and gaining knowledge by experience, which contradicted the prevailing view of many. Locke and other Enlightenment thinkers believed that people were capable of great progress and of improving the conditions in which they lived, especially through science and reasoning. This challenged the foundations of ideas like predestination, for the idea that one can change and improve the conditions of life implied that God had not created humans as cogs in a machine, but as active players in the universe. However, neither man challenged the existence of God. There was room for faith in a world of reason.

One attempt to reconcile faith and reason was called Christian rationalism, which stressed that humans were born with free will and through moral, rational behavior they could gain salvation. The rationalists accepted all into church membership who were trying to live Christian lives, instead of merely the “visible saints.” Thus rationalism directly challenged the core beliefs of Calvinism, especially predestination. Instead, some rationalist Puritans began espousing a belief in Arminianism, that humans had the freedom to choose salvation through good works and faith. Arminianism dovetailed very well with Enlightenment thought about how humans were free to influence their own destinies. Rationalists believed that salvation could be gained through actions, not just as a capricious gift from God. Traditionalists, of course, rejected these ideas as heretical. Arminianism became an influential theory in the early 18th century at Harvard College, which served as a training ground for Congregationalist ministers. The new generation of Puritan ministers began assuming leadership roles in the Congregationalist churches of New England. Thus, a tension between these two opposing factions caused great unrest among Christians in America.

Further complicating matters was the fact that the Puritans had experienced a serious reduction in membership. Since about 1650, membership had declined, especially among men, whom some ministers accused of being too worldly. Women definitely seemed to have an advantage in exhibiting what was called ‘regeneration’ after a believable conversion experience. In some congregations, women made up sixty to seventy-five percent of new members. In 1662, the Puritan clergy created the Half-Way Covenant, which allowed adults who had been baptized as children but not yet saved “half-way” membership. These members could not take communion, but could have their children baptized as long as they demonstrated understanding of Christian beliefs and lived in obedience to God’s laws. On a practical note, the Half-Way Covenant was also an attempt to keep influential people within the Puritan faith, for no matter how strictly the Puritans had attempted to wipe out dissenters and other denominations, the Puritans now faced competition from Baptists and Quakers, among others. But the Half-Way Covenant was not accepted by all congregations, and thus caused more dissension rather than growth.

The increasing stratification within society also affected the discontent felt by many within the second generation of Puritans. As the older generation increasingly concentrated upon attaining wealth, some churches also allowed a differentiation within the sanctuary itself, as wealthy families were given prominent pews within the church during services (during the early years of settlement in America, it was a common practice for a family to subscribe for a pew, thereby paying for the privilege of one’s seat). Naturally, some of the younger, less wealthy Puritans felt further estrangement, and soon stopped attending services. The Rev. Jonathan Edwards of Northampton, Massachusetts focused his attention upon this disaffected generation. He tried to reawaken their piety by appealing to their emotions in a series of sermons that sought to impel his congregants to examine their lives, come to grips with their fate as sinners unless saved by God. This appeal to emotionalism worked, and people felt reconnected to their faith. Soon Edward’s congregation was growing in membership. Revivals of religious feeling were also sweeping through the Methodist and Presbyterian churches in the colonies.

This effort by Edwards marked the beginning of the Great Awakening in New England. Into this time of crisis burst a new attempt to revive religious enthusiasm: the First Great Awakening, which erupted in New England between the years of 1734 and 1745. Those who supported the ideals of the Great Awakening became known as New Lights; traditionalists were called Old Lights.

There were several identifying features of this movement. New Light pastors thundered from their pulpits. Itinerant preachers roamed the countryside, sometimes speaking from the pulpits of churches they visited, but also drawing large crowds in fields or on the steps of meetinghouses. From 1739 to 1741, the youthful Rev. George Whitefield, an Anglican evangelist from England, toured around the Middle Colonies, and several of his sermons were printed by his friend Benjamin Franklin, who was known as a religious skeptic. He was invited to preach in the Connecticut River Valley by Jonathan Edwards, and from there he moved through New England preaching in various places to enthusiastic reviews. Crowds as large as 8,000 listened to him preach in Boston. Instead of dry, reasoned sermons, listeners were painted vivid pictures of the fires of hell in highly emotional language. Audiences often responded in kind, being driven to shrieks of horror, panic, and tears. People grew pale and sometimes collapsed in the arms of their loved ones; others cried out to God for mercy in the middle of a service. Those who experienced this step often moved to a state of euphoria as the last phase of their reawakening, as the feeling of God’s salvation gathered within their hearts and overwhelmed them.

Soon these different approaches to religious feeling flared into open confrontation. An implicit thread running through New Light sermons was criticism of mainline Protestantism as being spiritually dead and decadent. Clergy became subject to criticism and dismissal. Some churches broke into factions or split along doctrinal lines. In one congregation, the minister was asked to step down because he lacked the emotional fire his awakened congregants wanted. When he refused, he was pulled from the pulpit, assaulted, and thrown out the door of the church. . Ideas about education were also affected by this criticism of the “spiritual coldness” of unconverted ministers. A Presbyterian minister, William Tennent, established a school in New Jersey to train preachers in the New Light methods and theology. Originally called the “Log College,” this school was later christened the College of New Jersey and is today known as Princeton. Tennent’s son Gilbert Tennent became an influential New Light preacher.

These Presbyterian graduates of the Log College were soon making their way down the coastline to the southern colonies. By the 1740s, the revival had spread to the southern colonies, carried by William Tennent’s troops. Methodists and Baptists also reaped a windfall of converts, and during the Awakening in this era, many slaves were exposed to Christianity for the first time. Some churches even had both black and white members for a time. For the next twenty years, revivalism played a strong part in the religious experiences of many Southerners.

The Great Awakening also had political and educational consequences. Some Old Lights, particularly in New England, attempted to pass laws to quell the influence of the New Lights. This religious division had political consequences in New England, since the church and government were so tightly intertwined. The Connecticut Assembly passed a law forbidding a clergyman to preach from another’s pulpit without permission and repealed toleration laws passed in 1708. This heavy-handedness ultimately created a backlash in support of religious freedom that would resonate even to the present day. Higher education in the colonies benefitted from this religious revival. Besides Princeton, several colleges sprung up during this time, including Brown, Rutgers, and Dartmouth, for the purpose of meeting the increased need for preachers. These institutions introduced a new curriculum that emphasized mathematics, science, and modern languages in addition to the classical studies and theology which had prevailed previously in older schools. Students at Yale who were swayed by New Light theology began stirring up so much unrest that the Connecticut Assembly allowed expulsion for any student who attended New Light services. The Great Awakening pitted the New Lights’ call for a return to Calvinism against the Old Lights’ more liberal tendencies, which would eventually lead to the founding of the Unitarian and Universalist churches.

To this day, a split remains within American Protestantism, a split that was first articulated during the First Great Awakening. The Christian Charismatic movement, which emphasizes emotion, spiritual gifts such as prophecy, and shattering conversion experiences, still dominates some denominations, such as the Assembly of God based in Springfield, Missouri, as well as the work of evangelists such as Billy and Franklin Graham. The Great Awakening encouraged democratic tendencies and also promoted the separation of church and state, since New Lights were rebelling against the control Old Lights were able to wield through the administration of anti-revivalist laws. Although the religious fervor that was encouraged by the Great Awakening has experienced varying levels of influence throughout American history up to the present, the dichotomy between faith and reason has never completely subsided from the American social landscape.

Christine Heyrman on the 1st Great Awakening

The First Great Awakening
Christine Leigh Heyrman
Department of History, University of Delaware

from http://www.nhc.rtp.nc.us:8080/tserve/eighteen/ekeyinfo/grawaken.htm

What historians call “the first Great Awakening” can best be described as a revitalization of religious piety that swept through the American colonies between the 1730s and the 1770s. That revival was part of a much broader movement, an evangelical upsurge taking place simultaneously on the other side of the Atlantic, most notably in England, Scotland, and Germany. In all these Protestant cultures during the middle decades of the eighteenth century, a new Age of Faith rose to counter the currents of the Age of Enlightenment, to reaffirm the view that being truly religious meant trusting the heart rather than the head, prizing feeling more than thinking, and relying on biblical revelation rather than human reason.

The earliest manifestations of the American phase of this phenomenon–the beginnings of the First Great Awakening–appeared among Presbyterians in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Led by the Tennent family–Reverend William Tennent, a Scots-Irish immigrant, and his four sons, all clergymen—the Presbyterians not only initiated religious revivals in those colonies during the 1730s but also established a seminary to train clergymen whose fervid, heartfelt preaching would bring sinners to experience evangelical conversion. Originally known as “the Log College,” it is better known today as Princeton University.

Religious enthusiasm quickly spread from the Presbyterians of the Middle Colonies to the Congregationalists  (Puritans) and Baptists of New England. By the 1740s, the clergymen of these churches were conducting revivals throughout that region, using the same strategy that had contributed to the success of the Tennents. In emotionally charged sermons, all the more powerful because they were delivered extemporaneously, preachers like Jonathan Edwards evoked vivid, terrifying images of the utter corruption of human nature and the terrors awaiting the unrepentant in hell. Hence Edwards’s famous description of the sinner as a loathsome spider suspended by a slender thread over a pit of seething brimstone in his best known sermon, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.”

These early revivals in the northern colonies inspired some converts to become missionaries to the American South. In the late 1740s, Presbyterian preachers from New York and New Jersey began proselytizing in the Virginia Piedmont; and by the 1750s, some members of a group known as the Separate Baptists moved from New England to central North Carolina and quickly extended their influence to surrounding colonies. By the eve of the American Revolution, their evangelical converts accounted for about ten percent of all southern churchgoers.

The First Great Awakening also gained impetus from the wide-ranging American travels of an English preacher, George Whitefield. Although Whitefield had been ordained as a minister in the Church of England, he later allied with other Anglican clergymen who shared his evangelical bent, most notably John and Charles Wesley. Together they led a movement to reform the Church of England (much as the Puritans had attempted earlier to reform that church) which resulted in the founding of the Methodist Church late in the eighteenth century. During his several trips across the Atlantic after 1739, Whitefield preached everywhere in the American colonies, often drawing audiences so large that he was obliged to preach outdoors. What Whitefield preached was nothing more than what other Calvinists had been proclaiming for centuries–that sinful men and women were totally dependent for salvation on the mercy of a pure, all-powerful God. But Whitefield–and many American preachers who eagerly imitated his style–presented that message in novel ways. Gesturing dramatically, sometimes weeping openly or thundering out threats of hellfire-and-brimstone, they turned the sermon into a gripping theatrical performance.

But not all looked on with approval. Throughout the colonies, conservative and moderate clergymen questioned the emotionalism of evangelicals and charged that disorder and discord attended the revivals. They took great exception to “itinerants,” ministers who, like Whitefield, traveled from one community to another, preaching and all too often criticizing the local clergy. And they took still greater exception when some white women and African Americans shed their subordinate social status long enough to exhort religious gatherings. Evangelical preachers and converts rejoined by lambasting their opponents as cold, uninspiring, and lacking in piety and grace. Battles raged within congregations and whole denominations over this challenge to clerical authority as well as the evangelical approach to conversion from “the heart” rather than “the head.”

So the first Great Awakening left colonials sharply polarized along religious lines. Anglicans and Quakers gained new members among those who disapproved of the revival’s excesses, while the Baptists (and, in the 1770s, the Methodists) made even more handsome gains from the ranks of radical evangelical converts. The largest single group of churchgoing Americans remained within the Congregationalist and Presbyterian denominations, but they divided internally between advocates and opponents of the Awakening, known respectively as “New Lights” and “Old Lights.” Inevitably, civil governments were drawn into the fray. In colonies where one denomination received state support, other churches lobbied legislatures for disestablishment, an end to the favored status of Congregationalism in Connecticut and Massachusetts and of Anglicanism in the southern colonies.

Guiding Student Discussion
Now let’s cut to the classroom. You’ve sketched out the story of the first Great Awakening–its beginnings in the mid-Atlantic, its transit to New England, and its culmination in the South, its legacy of debate and division. And you’ve emphasized that it was only the colonial manifestation of a religious revival of much broader geographic scope–it spread the length of British North America (where, indeed, the only public figure whose name was known to virtually all colonials was George Whitefield!) and reverberated throughout the Protestant countries of Europe as well.

So your next move might be to pose the question: What could account for the tremendous appeal of evangelical Christianity to men and women living on both sides of the Atlantic during the latter half of the eighteenth century?

Chances are that most students will simply look confused at this inquiry–although some Christians among them might suggest that divine providence inspired large numbers of people to embrace “true Christianity.” If that happens, you have a prime opportunity to point out that while such an explanation might well be persuasive from the standpoint of faith (that is, the perspective of a believer), historians (no matter what their personal religious convictions might be) strive to explain the IMMEDIATE causes of why things happened without reference to acts of God. (Otherwise they’d all be out of business, since the ULTIMATE cause of every historical event, from the standpoint of faith, is the will of God.)

With a little luck, those remarks will return the class to thinking about the SPECIFIC HISTORICAL CIRCUMSTANCES that might have enhanced the appeal of evangelical Christianity, with its formidable array of emotional consolations and moral certitudes, to large numbers of people in the eighteenth century.

To keep the discussion on that track–and to make such connections more accessible to students–you might try tossing out the observation that religious culture in America today bears many resemblances to that of the eighteenth century. As many commentators, both scholarly and popular, have noted, recent decades have witnessed an evangelical revival–what some regard as yet another “Great Awakening.” Since the 1960s, membership in conservative evangelical Protestant churches has grown dramatically, while the membership of national organizations like the Promise Keepers and local bible study groups have also expanded at an astonishing rate. Some of your students will be aware of those trends–and therefore will have greater confidence when it comes to speculating about the social sources of contemporary evangelicalism’s popular appeal–the transient lives of many Americans as population shifts to the South and West, the high incidence of family fragmentation in the face of staggering divorce rates, the uncertainty over gender roles fueled by feminism, the threats that recent scientific discoveries and “secular humanism” are perceived by many to pose to “traditional values,” and so forth.

Okay, here’s the payoff lurking at the end of this seeming digression into the religious culture of the late twentieth century: by now at least some students will see the connection between popular religious inclinations and broader social trends. So this is the moment for you to steer them back into the eighteenth century by noting that this, too, was an era of extraordinary upheaval and crisis for ordinary people. Remind them that England was entering the Industrial Revolution and that evangelicals like the Methodists attracted large numbers of converts among miners and factory workers. Remind them that northern Ireland and Germany, other hotbeds of evangelical enthusiasm, were wracked by warfare, famine, or both–harsh conditions that prompted hundreds of thousands to migrate to British North America. And, finally, remind them that in the American colonies, the same epoch witnessed a massive internal shift of population to the embattled frontiers of the South and West, where ordinary families endured hardscrabble, rootless lives and the ever-present threat of attack from dispossessed Indian tribes. Such circumstances also thrust women into newly responsible roles for the survival of migrating households as families were fragmented by movement and death.

It follows that men and women faced with such stark challenges might have sought opportunities for fellowship, solace, and emotional release–and that is exactly what evangelicals on both sides of the Atlantic offered. Presbyterians, Baptists, and Methodists touted their churches as havens from all the evils afflicting ordinary people–as islands of disciplined stability and Christian charity in a churning sea of social chaos and cultural confusion.

If you’d like more information about the First Great Awakening, the first book to consult is Patricia Bonomi’s Under the Cope of Heaven. This is probably the best overview of religious history in the American colonies, and it offers a superb discussion of both the First Great Awakening and how it bore upon the American Revolution. Another key source is J. M. Bumsted and John E. Van de Wetering, What Must I Do to Be Saved? For a vivid evocation of how revivalism flourished on both sides of the Atlantic during the eighteenth century, you could not choose a better book than Leigh Eric Schmidt’s Holy Fairs. Finally, for a magisterial survey of the sweep of spiritual awakenings throughout America’s past, you should take a look at William McLoughlin’s American Revivalism.

Historians Debate
There are two notable trends in recent scholarship on this subject. The first is represented by those historians who argue that the revivals became a means by which humbler colonials challenged the prerogatives of their social “betters”–both by criticizing their materialistic values and undermining their claims to deference and respect. The strongest case for this interpretation in the North has been advanced by Gary Nash in The Urban Crucible, a wide-ranging study of major seaports in the eighteenth century; a similar view of the Awakening in the upper South appears in Rhys Isaac, The Transformation of Virginia, 1740-1790. Indeed, some scholars like Harry Stout (The New England Soul) have argued that the first Great Awakening radically transformed and democratized modes of mass communication, thereby setting the stage for the emergence a new popular politics in the revolutionary decades that followed.

But this interpretation has been sharply criticized by other scholars like Christine Leigh Heyrman (Commerce and Culture) and Christopher Jedrey (The World of John Cleaveland) who view the first Great Awakening, at least in the North, as an essentially conservative movement, a continuation of earlier religious traditions. As for the South, even those scholars who credit the potentially radical implications of early evangelical teachings in that region argue that challenges to slavery and class privilege faded quickly in the wake of the revolution; see, for example, Christine Leigh Heyrman, Southern Cross, and Rachel Klein, The Unification of a Slave State.

That skepticism about the social and political effects of colonial revivalism is shared by another scholar who has offered the most sweeping rejection of the long-held view that the first Great Awakening marked a watershed in early American history: Jon Butler, in his essay, “Enthusiasm Described and Decried: The Great Awakening as Interpretive Fiction,” Journal of American History, 69 (1982-83), 305-25.