Principal Intellectual Movements Anglo-American Colonies Eighteenth Century: Essay

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Principal intellectual movements Anglo-American colonies eighteenth century: Great Awakening Enlightenment." You sources relevant paper. Use Reich's Colonial America reference research report if draw material source assigned, footnotes book, article,

The Great Awakening and the Enlightenment:

Wrestling for the souls and the minds of colonial settlers in the Americas

The colonial period in the Americas was a time of intense intellectual ferment. Two seemingly contradictory intellectual movements arose: that of the Great Awakening and the American Enlightenment. The Great Awakening was a period of religious revivalism that arose within the New England and Mid-Atlantic colonies. The American version of the Enlightenment, a movement which began in Europe, was characterized by intellectual curiosity and a belief in the need for rationalism over superstition when governing human affairs. Both of these conceptions of the 'human' shaped the future, evolving history of America.

While many of the American colonies were founded by people fleeing the persecution of the British Crown, once settlements began to take hold, religious fervor cooled. "Because people often lived great distances from a parish church, membership and participation suffered. In addition, on the frontier concern for theological issues faded before the concern for survival and wrestling...
...The formal leadership of many churches had grown alienated from the needs of the ordinary populace. The Great Awakening was a populist revival, focused around charismatic preachers and theologians like Jonathan Edwards. It attempted to reawaken interest in religion a relevant and meaningful way for residents of the colonies.

Jonathan Edwards' most famous sermon "Sinners in the Hand of an Angry God" is best remembered for its famous metaphor of the hand of God, holding a human being like a spider above the flames of hell. However, Edwards' was not merely a fire-and-brimstone preacher. His writing had a legitimate intellectual argument: he believed that God's will, not the human will, was the reason people were saved or fallen. The human mind was seen as puny and defenseless in the face of the might of God. But unlike preachers from the formal church leadership, who regarded themselves as Elect (in contrast to their congregants), Edwards stressed that no one, not even members of the church hierarchy could know they were saved for certain. God could extend salvation…

Sources Used in Documents:


"The Great Awakening." Wake Forest University. December 17, 2010

Hooker, Richard. "The American Enlightenment." World Civilizations. Updated June 6, 1999.

December 17, 2010

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