Influence of the Great Awakening and Puritanism

Two events. That is all. Just two events had a tremendous impact on the American society today. The American Society was influenced greatly by Puritanism in the seventeenth century and by The Great Awakening in the eighteenth century. The Great Awakening was influential because it led to the spreading of the religions while the Puritans wanted freedom from New England to start their new ideas of religious views. The Great Awakening’s greatest influence was the way it prepared America for its War of Independence.

The years leading up to the wars breakthrough taught people that they could stand up for what they believed in when calling out religious leaders, and that when churches were not living up to the their standards, the people could stop going to that particular church and join a better church. Religious preachers in New England, New York, and Philadelphia held revivals. The rivalry between Old and New Light Protestant leaders was incredible. The New Light churches established several Colleges including Princeton, Columbia, Brown, Rutgers and Dartmouth.

Also, the New Lights reached out to many ethnic groups and all different cultures and even gave women the right to speak in church and be heard. Effects of the Great Awakening remain a part of our society today. Religious acceptance and diversity became an important outcome of the revivals and helped to influence our society today. Puritans also were influential to our development. They thought that economic and political things and religious disagreements were causing a decline in English society.

John Winthrop, traveling with some Puritans, said that they should make a society in which the high end, wealthier people and the needier depended on each other and all could benefit from helping each other out in life. The government and religion had a close relationship during this time. The Puritans thought that the government would make sure that none of the merchants were making extra money. They planned to make the forte of the community more open to opinions and selflessness.

All of the people had to go to church and pay a tithe, however the people were not considered all that great unless they lived a good life. Puritans believed that communication was important because they needed to be able to understand the bible. The beginning of public education came around when an act was passed making it that the city had to have a teacher for a town of sixty or more houses, and to have a language and grammar school in towns with over one hundred households.

The Puritans were more inclusive than England ever was. All the men did not have to own land to vote. So that meant they got many more votes. The break by Puritans from English ways, and Puritans being in New England, created some new ideas and influences that remain in our society today. The Puritans set the basis of all institutions in American society, including all ages of education and government, and extended the power and the rights of the common citizen.

The religious leaders of the Great Awakening contributed to the fixing of religious differences, growing impatience in the society and they made important decisions of higher education. Some Puritans still believe the same things. Without the revivals of the Great Awakening some historians believe citizens would not have been moved enough to criticize, question, and object to their leaders, and the foundation would not have been laid for a political revolution later in the century. The Great Awakening and Puritanism helped change and shape our American Society as it is today.