The Great Awakening (Paperback)
The Roots of Evangelical Christianity in Colonial America
Yale University Press, 9780300158465, 416pp.
Publication Date: September 1, 2009
A groundbreaking historical treatment of the First Great Awakening and its contribution to the American ideal of equality for all people
In the mid-eighteenth century, Americans experienced an outbreak of religious revivals that shook colonial society. This book provides a definitive view of these revivals, now known as the First Great Awakening, and their dramatic effects on American culture. Historian Thomas S. Kidd tells the absorbing story of early American evangelical Christianity through the lives of seminal figures like Jonathan Edwards and George Whitefield as well as many previously unknown preachers, prophets, and penitents. The Great Awakening helped create the evangelical movement, which heavily emphasized the individual’s experience of salvation and the Holy Spirit’s work in revivals. By giving many evangelicals radical notions of the spiritual equality of all people, the revivals helped breed the democratic style that would come to characterize the American republic. Kidd carefully separates the positions of moderate supporters of the revivals from those of radical supporters, and he delineates the objections of those who completely deplored the revivals and their wildly egalitarian consequences. The battles among these three camps, the author shows, transformed colonial America and ultimately defined the nature of the evangelical movement.
About the Author
Thomas S. Kidd is associate professor of history, Baylor University, and author of The Protestant Interest: New England after Puritanism, published by Yale University Press. He lives in Woodway, TX.
Praise For The Great Awakening: The Roots of Evangelical Christianity in Colonial America…
"Well researched, clearly written and authoritatively argued. There is no book of comparable breadth, either chronologically or geographically."—Mark Noll, University of Notre Dame
“It has been fifty years since Edwin Gaustad told the history of New England’s Great Awakening, and, since then, the revivals themselves have at times been almost lost sight of in debates about the fictions of memory and the invention of tradition. Thomas Kidd’s narrative, returning squarely to the formative events and factions that shaped early evangelicalism, offers a valuable synoptic account of the beginnings of this continuously important movement.”—Leigh E. Schmidt, Princeton University
“With this deeply researched and beautifully focused study of the origins of American evangelicalism, Thomas Kidd gives us nothing less than a fresh, post-revisionist understanding of the Great Awakening. But that is not all. By casting a powerful light upon the controversies at the outset of the evangelical movement, particularly those revolving around the third person of the Trinity, he illuminates the rest of that movement’s conflicted history, providing insight into its enduring complexities, and its likely manifestations in the century ahead.”—Wilfred McClay, author of The Masterless: Self and Society in Modern America