The eighteenth century was a period of change for American colonists. They encountered new ways of life with the revival of religion and the introduction to science. The yearning for knowledge encouraged the colonists to partake in religious activities and explore the scientific world around them. The Great Awakening was a movement created by the Protestants and its purpose was to reestablish religious faith. The Age of Enlightenment was a movement concerning intellectuals all around the world. It was the culmination of old traditions and the beginning of new ideas and approaches. These two major movements significantly affected the growth of colonial America because it inspired people to work as a unified group and gain independence.
The Great Awakening took place during the 1700s in colonial America and soon reached to European nations such as England, Scotland and Germany. The movement expressed how being truly religious required a person to trust the heart instead of the head and to depend on biblical beliefs more than human logic. Preaching was vital and had a great impact on the people who were listening. For instance, Jonathan Edwards tried to reform the Pilgrims and turn them back to their Calvinist roots and make them fear God once again. His emotional sermons talked about how all of mankind had sinfulness and hatefulness in their souls. Those who agreed to the message Edwards was sending were called the New Lights and those who opposed it were called the Old Lights. The conflict between them later resulted in the development of future universities and represented a small step towards the unity of all the colonies.
The Age of Enlightenment started in Europe around the time of the Great Awakening. The goal was to develop knowledge based on logic and free- thinking. Scientific views and natural philosophy were replacements of religion and were the resources for understanding nature and human fate. There were advancements in mathematics with Sir Isaac Newton, who created physics. In addition, technology was a major achievement with an example of Ben Franklin and his invention of the lightning rod. Due to these successes, people of colonial America grew in their mental rather than their physical state. They were more aware of things around them, which was beneficial because it created a sense of independence that they didn’t have before.
In conclusion, the Great Awakening and the Age of Enlightenment were two important movements of the eighteenth century. The movements inspired the American colonists to bond and become less dependent on others who usually take charge. The revival of religions brought people practicing the same belief together, which helped them unite and the Enlightenment period marked the basis on the journey to discover individual liberty. So as it is shown, both would certainly help colonial America grow into one independent nation.
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