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Unformatted text preview: bout government, illustrated by
John Locke’s Two Treatises of Government (1691),
which stated that men had power over their governments
and attacked the theory of divine right, were also
discussed by the upper classes and did have an effect on
American political life.
- To most people, however, the Enlightenment had its
greatest effect though the advances in medicine it
stimulated, such as the treatment of smallpox through
*Religious Trends: The Great Awakening*
- From the mid-1730s to the 1760s waves of religious
revivalism swept through America. These revivalists were
almost a counterpoint to the Enlightenment b/c they
stressed feeling over rationalism.
- The Great Awakening began in New England when in
1734 and 1735 Reverend Jonathan Edwards noted that
his youthful members reacted to a Calvinist based
message [people can only attain salvation by
surrendering completely to God’s will] which created
intense emotion and release from sin.
- The Great Awakening spread big time when George
Whitefield [“the first modern celebrity”] from the Church
of England arrived and began touring the colonies and
preaching to large audiences. He helped unify the
colonies, but he also created a split in religion between
the “Old Lights” [traditionalists] and “New Lights”
[revivalists]. This eventually led to increased toleration,
24 - The reason for the resistance to the message of the
Great Awakening was that it undermined the
dependence on the clergy and was also radically
egalitarian [which attracted many ordinary people].
*Cultural Trends: Public Rituals*
- Instead of reading about the Enlightenment, though,
most people simply communicated orally, as many
were poorly educated or illiterate. Therefore, the common
cultures of North America were mainly oral, communal
and very local, since information traveled slowly and
usually stayed w/in confined regions.
- So, since the colonists couldn’t form a common culture
through other means, religious and civic rituals served
to unite them. For example, attendance at church was
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- Fall '10