Colonial New England was the area which experienced the greatest change, primarily as a result of the Great Awakening, a revival of religious fervor in that area. Previously, New England residents had been primarily Calvinist followers of the teaching of predestination and the elect. With the Great Awakening this teaching was largely abandoned in favor of free will, justification by faith and the belief that all could be saved, although those who were not saved would be condemned. This change was largely the work of two famous ministers: George Whitefield, who often preached emotional sermons to thousands, and Jonathan Edwards, whose most famous sermon was Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God. The preaching of Whitefield and Edwards marked the end of puritanism in religious matters.
As a result of the Great Awakening, a number of colleges and universities were founded, originally for the purpose of educating ministers, but which became famous in their own right. Among these were Princeton, Rutgers, Brown, and Columbia.
Although there was some preaching by Whitefield in the South, the Great Awakening did not really stir an already sedate society. The South remained predominantly Anglican, and planters did not tolerate interference from the clergy with their lives. Any minister who did so was often sent packing.