What were the four reasons for the beginnings of the Great Awakening?

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kmj23 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Great Awakening was a period of religious revival in the 1730s in the American colonies and there are several factors which explain its sudden emergence. Firstly, the Great Awakening was a reaction to the Enlightenment when ministers represented a sort of 'upper class' of their own. They were well-educated and distinct from their parishioners. Ministers in the Great Awakening were often not ordained; they were not from the upper echelons of society and religion therefore became much more democratic.

Secondly, the energetic preaching of men like Jonathan Edwards, who refused to convert to the Church of England and who emphasized religion over worldly pursuits, was another important factor in the development of the Great Awakening.

Thirdly, preachers like Jonathan Edwards began to set up their own schools and churches throughout the colonies, such as Princeton University. This made it very clear to the establishment that no one denomination would dominate the others.

Finally, another reason for the Great Awakening was the growth of Deism, which emphasized morality and rejected the orthodox view of Christ's divinity. Deism was very popular among upper-class Americans and imbued them with a new sense of religious zeal, a defining characteristic of the Great Awakening movement.

Hope this helps! 

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