THE PRIMARY ROLE OF THE FIRST GREAT AWAKENING (AMERICAN REVIVALISM) IN THE SHAPING OF AMERICAN IDENTITY

Abstract

Author(s): Süleyman UZUNKÖPRÜ

Much ink has been spilled upon the onset and the evolution of the Great Awakenings in American religious history. Yet, there has been a lack of interest as regards to their substantial effects upon the American identity. To illustrate, American historians or historians, in general, seem to attach much weight to the First Great Awakening; however, how it affected the American character in Colonial America has generally been overlooked. The First Great Awakening left an indelible mark on American culture and identity. By the time the decline in religious piety beset the society, the First Great Awakening, no doubt, endowed the colonists with shared national religious experience as they commenced to sever all ties with religion. They needed to be recaptured that their duty was to follow the Law of God, stick to the covenant, and build the City upon a Hill instead of becoming the beacon of licentiousness and infidelity. The Evangelical Revival (the Awakening) became the wake-up call of that newly established society and created a robust shared identity that would draw them out from the pit of hell. In this article, I aim to reveal how the First Great Awakening shaped the American identity by referring to the Evangelical revivals and historical records of the United States in the 18th century.

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