In the early eighteenth century a great religious awakening swept through America.
This evangelical movement left a permanent impact on American Protestantism that is still visible today.
No longer would Christianity be dominated by ritual, ceremony and hierarchy, instead it would become a much more personal religion.
It gave average people the means to develop an individual sense of spiritual conviction and encouraged men and women across the colonies to study their own relationships with God and commit themselves to a new standard of Christian morality.
Preachers travelled great distances to spread their evangelical message and to be heard by new audiences.
Two of the most prominent leaders of the Great Awakening were Jonathan Edwards and George Whitefield. Together they forged a new form of evangelical Christianity that could be understood by the masses and came to epitomize religion in America.
Joseph Tracy’s brilliant study of this period and the religious revival that took place uncovers how figures such as Whitefield and Edwards changed the shape of American religion forever.
The Great Awakening is essential reading for anyone interested in eighteenth century colonial America and the religious revival that took hold of it.
Joseph Tracy was a Protestant minister, newspaper editor, historian and leading figure in the American Colonization Society. Many scholars believe Tracy’s work The Great Awakening to be the seminal work on religious revival in eighteenth-century America. His book was published in 1842 and he passed away in 1874.