What was the Great Awakening?
The Great Awakening was a spiritual revolution of the 1730's and 1740's that pitted individual spiritual authority against established religious authority.
The preachers of the awakening stressed individual responsibility for greater spiritual intimacy with God. This emphasis on the authority of individuals over the established religious authority created dissent with the religious and political authorities .
The leaders of the Great Awakening George Whitefield John Wesley and Jonathan Edwards taught unmerited grace, new birth in Christ and justification by faith alone. Thousands of the lower and middle class citizens flocked to their teaching and were converted. It is estimated that more than 10% of the colonial population became followers of the Great Awakening.
The established churches lost both power and membership. Churches like the Methodist, Congregational and Baptist that gave more authority and power to the lay people grew in numbers.
The Great Awakening changed not only the religious framework but also the social and political landscape of the American Colonies. People who were able to elect their own spiritual leaders wanted to be able to elect their own political leaders. People who were free spiritually wanted to free both socially and politically.
The Great Awakening of the 1730's and 1740's which pitted the individual against the establishment help to lead to the political revolution of 1776.