To what extent did the Great Awakening justify the politcial thought of the American Revolution through philosophical and intellectual cornerstones?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that the question is an interesting one.  There will be different answers to this.  In one respect, I think that the Great Awakening was about questioning.  Individuals were being compelled by leaders of the movement to question their own lives and their own relationship with the divine.  The Great Awakening sought to create  a domain whereby individuals were able to clearly question their own moral and spiritual worlds.  This questioning is something seen in the American Revolution, whereby Colonists questioned their political state of being.  I think that another way in which the Great Awakening can be linked to the political thought that underscored the American Revolution is in its basic progressive tendency.  The Great Awakening fundamentally wanted to make things better.  It surveyed the spiritual landscape of the individual and wanted to make what could be in place of what is.  This is the same spirit of improvement that helped to foster the American Revolution.  The idea of looking and surveying what is there and seek to make it better is what enabled the Colonists to persevere through the early and difficult stages of demanding for change.

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