ent died out rapidly, leaving behind bitter doctrinal disputes between the “New Lights” and the “Old Lights,” the latter led by Charles Chauncy, a Boston clergyman, who opposed the revivalist movement as extravagant and impermanent” (Great Awakening). However, the waves of religious awakening soon spread to America and it attained proper shape in America.
Great Awakening is classified into different categories based on the period of occurrence like; first second, third and fourth Great Awakenings. First Great Awakening started in AD1734 and lasted till 1750 whereas second Great Awakening occurred in between 1800-1840. The third Great Awakening started in 1880 and lasted till 1910 whereas the fourth Great Awakening happened in the late 1960’s and at the beginning of 1970’s. In all the four great Awakening histories, Protestants were at one side and the traditional churches at the other end. This paper analyses the history and significance of Great Awakening.
The Great Awakening arose at a time when man in Europe and the American colonies were questioning the role of the individual in religion and society. It began at the same time as the Enlightenment which emphasized logic and reason and stressed the power of the individual to understand the universe based on scientific laws. Similarly, individuals grew to rely more on a personal approach to salvation than church dogma and doctrine (Kelly)
According to Professor Kidd (2009),“In the generation before awakening, the rivalry between Anglicans and dissenters was sharp. Dissenters were the subjects of discrimination at that time” (Professor Kidd, p.43). Church was the most dominant segment in American and British societies before the beginning of Great Awakening. Even politicians were afraid of the churches and they never tried to do something against the interests of the churches. In other words, the dominance of church was evident in all the aspects of human life in Britain and America before