What are some similarities and differences between the Great Awakening and the Age of Enlightenment?
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For the most part, the Enlightenment and the Great Awakening were very different things. Most textbooks even talk about the Great Awakening as something of a backlash against the Englightenment. The Enlightenment was all about rationality and logic. It was about putting away superstition and, to some extent, emotion. By contrast, the Great Awakening was not at all rational. It called on people to have a personal and emotional connection to God. It argued that people needed to feel religion in their hearts rather than understanding it in their heads. These are very different ideas than those of the Enlightment.
The major similarity between the two is that both helped move the colonies towards the idea of democracy. Both movements emphasize the worth of individual human beings and the fact that they are essentially equal to one another. The Enlightenment argued against hereditary monarchies and aristocracies in favor of democracy. The Great Awakening argued against church hierarchies telling people what to do and in favor of people having their own relationships with God. In this way, the two are similar.
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