What is the significance of Charles Grandison Finney?

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mkoren eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Charles Grandison Finney was known as a very famous revivalist of the Second Great Awakening. He was called the “father of modern revivalism.” He also was a lawyer, as well as a professor and president of Oberlin College. When it came to religion, Finney promoted and marketed the revivals. He believed all faithful individuals had to act. Revivals became a mainstay of American religion because of Finney.

In order to attract new converts, Finney made a series of reforms called the New Measures. One of these reforms was called the “anxious bench,” which allowed potential converts to think about their decision to accept Christ. Another reform was to increase the role of women. Women’s prayer groups formed, and women could speak at prayer meetings, even if men were present at those meetings.

Finney also believed in social reform. Oberlin College was the first college to admit women and African Americans. It was also an important station on the Underground Railroad.

Charles Grandison Finney played an important role in the Second Great Awakening.

astrocourt eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Charles Grandison Finney is known as the 'Father of Modern Revivalism'. He was a leader in the 'Second Great Awakening' in the United States, serving as a Presbyterian, then Congregationalist, minister and religious writer.

Finney's significance was in innovative preaching and service procedure. For instance, he allowed women to pray out loud and saved 'anxious' seats in the congregation for people interested in conversion.

He also supported abolitionism, using his preaching platform to denounce slavery. Other social reforms that he supported (and spoke for) were equal educational opportunities for women, and African Americans.

The Second Great Awakening was a period, from 1790 to 1850, that led to the enrolment of millions of new members, and the creation of several new denominations. Amending various social 'evils' through this Awakening was also thought to be aiding the preparation of humanity for the anticipated second coming of Jesus Christ. 


pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Charles Grandison Finney is significant in US history because he was one of the major forces behind the social changes known as the Second Great Awakening.  This was a major religious revival that happened in the early 1800s.

The Second Great Awakening was important because it was a reaction to the less religious ideas of the Enlightenment and a reaction to the changes that were occurring in the US society and economy in the early 1800s.  The Second Great Awakening was important for people's religious lives, but it was also important because it gave rise to a number of reform movements (such as abolitionism) that were meant to improve society.

Finney, then, is important because he helped to bring about the Second Great Awakening.


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