A companion to the official Kerry-Edwards 2004 campaign website.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Time for a Wake Up

It's all been done before people...

The First Great Awakening (1730s - 1740s)
"Sinners in the Hand of an Angry God"

The Second Great Awakening (1820s - 1830s)
Baptists, camp meetings, and the South

The Third Great Awakening (1880s - 1900s)
Darwin, atheism, and secular humanism

The Fourth Great Awakening (1960s - 1970s)
hippies, Beatniks, and New Age

Although the Great Awakenings influence and are influenced by religious thought from throughout the world, the cycle of Great Awakenings appear to be unique to the United States. This could be because the United States is home to many different denominations and sects, while remaining largely Protestant Christian. The lack of a single dominant faith or state-sanctioned religion means that new ideas can be spread without having to slowly reform existing institutions from within, or allowing pressures to build up until the existing institutions are violently overthrown. On the other hand, the established sects have enough prestige and inertia that the pressure for new ideas build into a regular cycle of (relatively - there are riots involved) bloodless revolution.

Since religion dictates morality, or at least provides its justification, the Great Awakenings exert influence on the politics of the United States. For example, the abolition movement, part of the wider Second Great Awakening, eventually contributed to the American Civil War.

Great Awakenings in the United Stateshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Awakenings