Second Great Awakening

Second Great Awakening
1820-1859

The Second Great Awakening was a revival of Protestantism in North America. Its best-known proponent was the Rev. Charles Grandison Finney (1792-1875), whose career took off after his dynamic evangelical revivals in the late 1820s in New York's upstate "Burned-Over District." Finney's brand of Christianity demanded perfection but allowed for repentant sinners to return to the fold. It called for equality among all believers and held that the sins of a neighbor corrupted all. This created an activist kind of Christian, one who sought to convert and to correct all the problems of the world. The greatest social and political significance of this Great Awakening came from the movements associated with it: temperance, moral reform (such as the campaign to end prostitution), and most significantly, abolitionism. The greatest impact of these movements was in the North but the evangelical ideas of the Second Great Awakening affected all sections of the country. Much of the style of modern-day evangelical Christianity is a continuance of that pioneered by Finney and his contemporaries.