The Second Great Awakening

The Second Great Awakening was a revival of religious fervor in the United States. It called for personal piety, and inspired many other reform movements throughout the eighteenth century. Beginning around 1790 and ending sometime in the 1840s The Second Great Awakening spawned several religious groups such as the American Home Missionary Society, and The American Bible Society. Another notable feature of the Second Great Awakening were the large "camp meetings". These camp meetings were large congregations, sometimes consisting of 20,000 people. An attendee of one of these meetings described it below:

"The noise was like the roar of Niagara. The vast sea of human beings seemed to be agitated as if by a storm. I counted seven ministers, all preaching at one time, some on stumps, others on wagons ... Some of the people were singing, others praying, some crying for mercy. A peculiarly strange sensation came over me. My heart beat tumultuously, my knees trembled, my lips quivered, and I felt as though I must fall to the ground."

This describes the prevailing mood among the attendants, and is an accurate representation of how people during this time period felt.

The Second Great Awakening was a reaction to the rise of secular beliefs prevailing in America at the time. The break from traditional religious practices, and superstition prompted religious leaders to take action. They promoted creation of new denominations, religious organizations, and larger congregations. The Second Great Awakening inspired many movements such as temperance, abolition and suffrage.

The Second Great Awakening bore a resemblance to the First Great Awakening that toke place around 100 years earlier. Both saw the revival of religion, and large scale sermons, however The Second Great Awakening lead to the formation of many progressive groups, whereas The First Great Awakening lead to a more reactionary movements.

This photo below was of camp meeting. The most notable aspects of this picture are the size of the congregation, and the tents in the background. These camp meeting would attract people from all over the region and most would stay for a few days.

The charts above are a rough estimation of the growths of 6 Christian denominations during the second great awakening. This graph shows just how many people this movement encompassed.

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