Agree or Disagree with this statement and explain in detail, the facts behind your opinion.

The Second Great Awakening challenged the traditional ways of society in America between 1785 and 1825.




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Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, Women, active in camp meetings, early 1800's


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New York Historical Society, New York City, A methodist camp meeting, early 1800's



     The number of people computed from 10 to 21,000 and the communicants 828. The whole people serious all the conversation was of a religious nature, or calling in question the divinity of the work. Great numbers were on the ground from Friday until Thursday following, night and day without intermission engaged in some religious act of worship. They're commonly collected in small circles of ten or twelve, close adjoining another circle, and all engaged in singing, Watt's and Hart's Hymns; and then the minister steps upon a stump or log and begins and exhortation or sermon, when as many as can hear, collect around them. On Sabbath night, I saw above 100 candles burning at once - and I saw I suppose 100 persons at once on the ground crying for mercy of all ages, from 8 to 60 years.

Letter by son of Rev. James Finley, to uncle,
Rev. Dr. Finley, Sept. 20, 1801



     There are many irregularities among us, so it was in 1776 among the whigs in their enthusiasm for liberty, and so is human nature everywhere; sitting up whole nights is extravagant, but you cannot bid them quit, or you need not. The methodist are friendly and are very anxious to do good; and for my part I should be sorry to forbid, or even discourage them. -I see several things I do disapprove; but can say, if only the tenth person convicted is truly converted, tis a great work.

Letter from Uncle, Rev. Dr. Finley to nephew,
Nov. 30, 1801



     The power with which this revival has spread; and its influence in moralizing the people, are difficult for you to conceive of, and more difficult for me to describe. I have heard many accounts and seen many letters respecting it before I went to that country; but my expectations, though greatly raised, were much below the reality of the work. The congregations, when engaged in worship, presented scenes of solemnity superior to what I had ever seen before; and in private houses it was no uncommon thing to hear parents relate to strangers the wonderful things which God had done in their neighbourhoods, whilst a large circle of young people would be in tears. 
     On my way to Kentucky, I was told by settlers on the road, that the character of Kentucky travellers was entirely changed and that they were now, as distinguished for sobriety as they have formally been for dissoluteness: and indeed I found Kentucky the most moral place I had ever been in, a profane expression was hardly heard; a religious awe seemed to pervade the country: and some Deistical characters had confessed that from whatever cause the revival might originate, it certainly made the people better. - its influence was not less visible and promoting a friendly temper; nothing could appear more amiable than that undissembled benevolence which governs the subjects of this work: I have often wished that the near politician or Deist could observe with impartiality their peaceful and amicable spirit.

Letter from Rev. G. Baxter, principal of Washington Academy, to the Rev. Dr. Archibald Alexander, Jan. 1, 1802.

     Though a man live many years, and rejoice in them all; yet let him remember the days of darkness; for they shall be many. He makes a pause and declares the whole amount. All that cometh is vanity. Deeply impressed with the subject, he turns his attention to the young whose rising hopes and cheerful hearts seem to contradict the solemn truth.
     Instead of calling upon them to stop a while and reason on the subject, lest they run an awful hazard and gain nothing; for a while he seems to despair of all success. High hopes of present good, and a strong attachment to the fascinating pleasures of sin, whichever pleads for all the joy it brings, baffle every argument which ought to win the soul and lead it home to God.
     What then can be done? At such a crisis we tremble to hear what God will say. The sad case of a gay and thoughtless youth who sees no danger excites the tear of pity. Determine no to yield the point and quit a course so pleasant and delightful to his heart, nothing now remains, but that he make the trial and take the consequences.
At the same time this pleasant and delightful course he must and will believe is safe, innocent, and harmless. Then go on and venture the trial with the final judge, when this short course is ended. Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk the ways of thine eyes: but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgement.

Asahel Nettelton, Rejoice Young Man, 1821

     I told him that was not our way of doing business; that we seldom ever preached long at any place without trying to raise a society. He said I must not do it. I told him the people were a free people and lived in a free country, and must be allowed to do as they please....He said that was true; but if we raise a society it would diminish his membership, and cut off his support....
Public opinion was in my favor, and many more of this preacher's members came and joined us, and the minister soldout and moved to Missouri, and before the year was out I had peaceable possession of his brick church.

Methodist, Peter Cartwright, in response to the opposition to a Presbyterian Minister, 1821

     We are not going to wait for the angels, ...to come and build up Zion (the promised land), but we are going to build it. We will raise our wheat, build our houses, fence our farms, plant our vineyards and orchards, and produce everything that will make our bodies comfortable and happy and in this manner we intend to build up Zion on the earth, and purify and cleanse it from all pollutions.

Brigham Young, Mormon Leader in an 1826 sermon




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Greenhaven Press, Desegregated religious town meeting, 1826

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