The Role Of The Enlightenment And The Great Awakening Periods In American History

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The Enlightenment and the Great Awakening periods in American history contributed not only to the Revolutionary War, but also shaping America into its present day self. The Enlightenment period brought a sense of self-awareness; science was now applied to all aspects of life (religion, politics, trade, and life itself). Intellectuals began questioning what gives or allows a person the right to govern - as illustrated in Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s book The Social Contract (1762). Rousseau’s contention was that individuals had “natural rights” to life, liberty, and property that rulers could not deny (Schultz, 2013 p. 69). The Enlightenment also spurred a reformation in education; the days of religious based curricula were being challenged, philosophy and the concept of reasoning were introduced. The institution of the Press was reformed as well. Newspapers and magazines began circulating and reporting on the goings on of the day - people were becoming informed. People were thinking for themselves and questioning the authority of positional power and religion.…show more content…
The enlightenment period prompted people to start thinking for themselves and question authority and religion. Those more entrenched in the religious mindset saw this as a threat to the religious institution – especially the power that the religious institution had. Like the Enlightenment, an evolution took place and denominations within the religious community appeared. The masses began vocalizing religion – religion became emotional and the concept of all were equal in Christ helped spur the revival (Schultz,
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