The Second Great Awakening


The Second Great Awakening was a movement by the Protestant, Methodist, and Baptist church. It started in the late 1700's but didn't take off until the 1800's where it was full blown, enrolling millions of new members in to the new branches of existing religions as well as prior religions. These reforms were led by the preachers and ministers. The movements went to the frontier to gain followers starting from Kentucky where it spread through Tennessee and southern Ohio making its way western frontier. Although the First Great Awakening and the Second were both similar based on their religious aspects, they were very different. The Second Great Awakening was different from the First Great Awakening by its target audience. The First was aimed at people who were already church members while the Second reached out to people who weren't previously devoted to a religion. The Second Great Awakening was important because it increased sectionalism between the north and the south, the south were Methodists and Baptists while the north were episcopal and Presbyterians. It also increased women's roles in religion as well as religion over all in America.

2) Illustrations with explanations and citations

 "Second Great Awakening." - Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Nov. 2014.

The Methodists who went west to encourage more people to join their religion were called circuit riders. They would come to the small towns and preach to the townspeople about their religion. The Methodists were very effective because the circuit riders were common people. This connection between common man and common man helped establish a better base for the riders which helped them to convince the frontier families to convert.

 Growth of Denominations in America. 1780-1860. Digital image. Religion in America. N.p., n.d. Web. <>.

The Second Great Awakening sparked new denominations from mainly the Methodist and Baptist churches as well as congregational and Lutheran churches. These new denominations all created from The Second great Awakening were the Churches of Christ, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (nicknamed the Mormons), the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and the Evangelical Christian Church in Canada. The people converting were predominatry female and people under the age of 25.

3) Primary source, citation, and explanation

 New Hampshire Sentinel,

Transcription of Primary Source

Messrs Printers, MORAL & RELIGIOUS.

For the N.H. Sentinel

I have thought much upon the subject of duty, as respects weekly meetings—and more especially since I have read numerous accounts of what are called four days’ meetings. I wish to conform as much as possible to the opinions of good men around me, but have been somewhat perplexed to know what to do. The direction not to be conformed to this world, has led me to inquire whether frequent weekly meetings, and the setting apart FOUR DAYS in succession, were the commands of God, or the inventions of men. While ruminating upon the subject, as I was pitching off the last load of hay for the season, neighbor Meanwell called at the barn and told me Mr ---- was going to preach on Wednesday evening, that there would be a lecture on Friday afternoon, and that on Tuesday a four days’ meeting would commence, when all the neighboring ministers would be present—no doubt many would come in from other towns, and he hoped I would not fail to attend, with my family. I thanked him for his information, and entered into conversation on various subjects, until my load of hay was safely deposited, when we sat down on the sill, and talked over the subject.

Neighbor Meanwell, said I, it is true, I am about done haying; but you know we farmers cannot afford to hire much help, if we expect to make both ends of the year meet, to say nothing about saving something for sickness and unforeseen expenses, and I find that I must neglect much that ought to be done, to let the farm and household affairs take care of themselves four days in succession. Who hath required this at our hands? My neighbor looked at me with astonishment, apparently, and quoted some texts of scripture which he thought would justly sacrifices of this nature—he said we were commanded not to desert the house of prayer, and our excellent minister, who had some misgivings at first, on account of its resemblances to camp meetings, is now convinced that it will tend much to strengthen our society, and confound the “gain-sayers.” The ministers all agreed to try it, at their last association, and have appointed preparatory meetings in every town. I replied, that I admired his zeal, and felt the obligation, by my example, to attend upon a preached word. But, neighbor, are we not in some danger of doing too much? Our Father in Heaven rested on the 7th day, and the Sabbath is of divine origin, founded in the wants of man. “Six days shalt thou labor and do all thy work.” The command is as absolute to be diligent during the six days, as to set apart one day in seven for rest, contemplation on the works of God, and worship. My neighbor here interrupted me by the remark, that we were sinful by nature—that we were surrounded by temptations—that we were commanded to watch and pray, &c. and said there would be most POWERFUL preaching, as Mr ----- and Mr ----- would attend. I told him that he ought to know that I wished well to the cause of Zion, and would by precept and example, lend my influence—but I could not distrust the wisdom of my Maker. If the instructions of the Sabbath are of no avail after we leave the house of God—if our good impressions of duty and dependence are in such danger from our NATURES, of being worn off as soon as we commence our six days’ labor, as to require the suspension of that labor so as to have two or three, or as you would have it five Sundays, occasionally, in a week, it does appear to me God would have ordered it in his communications to his children. I have often attended Lectures on week days, when the association meet, or when strangers are providentially here, when I could do so without neglecting a positive duty. Latterly, you know, we have had notices of the Sabbath pretty constantly of several weekly meetings, and now we are called on to devote FOUR whole days. I could go, and return home at night, but many others must be quartered on the inhabitants in the village, or pitch their tents. I hope every thing will be conducted in order, and that ministers will aim to make understanding Christians—but I know, and you know, that “excitement” is fashionable, and I have observed that extraordinary meetings have a tendency to render dull and insipid the stated labors of our minister. I have remarked, too, that these seasons of extraordinary excitement, have often terminated in coldness and indifference; and I assure you my feelings were hurt the other day, to hear Mr Busy Body say he did not believe our excellent neighbor, Mr Think-well, had an ounce of religion, merely because he did not attend the extras only one in a while.

There are some minds that will not be affected, apparently, but by the strongest motive—that of fear; but this class, (which might be benefitted) will not be likely to attend. I hope it will not be necessary for Dr Beecher to call another Lebanon Convention of ministers. I have my fears, though, for they tell me Mr Littlejohn is full equal to Mr Finney and Dr Beman it now in high favor. My neighbor acknowledged there might be some force in my arguments; but he said the meeting was appointed, and he felt pledged to notify and attend himself, and so he bid me a good afternoon.

Now, Messrs Printers, I have stated my impressions, and I do feel it a paramount duty to regard a late exhortation, which was, to “remain peaceful and quite, and MIND MY OWN BUSINESS.”


"Complaint about How Camp Meetings Waste Time." Teach US History |. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Nov. 2014. <>.

Many Americans saw camp meetings as impractical. The author of the newspaper article explains that he does not have the time to camp outside for four days listening to sermons. As a farmer working his farm is a hard job that takes up most of his time. He already gives up a day each week to worship God. Giving up three more is too much to ask.

4) What else to know

 Camp meetings were a very important part of the Second Great Awakening. Camp meetings were held for four days in rural America, in places that probably would not have a established church. At these camp meetings many different reverends and preachers would talk about god and debate topics. This brought christianity to the outer most parts of America. There were many important figures of the second great awakening. Barton W. Stone was a Presbyterian minister until he was kicked out for believing faith was the was the only prerequisite for salvation. Stone later teamed up with Alexander Campbell who was an early leader in the church to start the restoration movement. The restoration movement was a movement that began in the American frontier during the second great awakening. The founders of this movement sought to reform the church from within and to unify all Christians in a single body patterned after the church of the New Testament. The second great awakening supured other reform movements designed to get rid of the short comings and evils of American society.