Barry Hankins, The Second Great Awakening and the Transcendentalists (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2004).
Ibidem KW: Transcendentalists; Religion; Second Great Awakening; Early US Comps list
Ibidem Annotation: In this book, its main importance in content. However it does layout social control versus freedom in the Second Great Awakening. It also lays out the traditional scholarship on slavery and women. Using people like Albert Rabatoeau.
Barry Hankins is the Professor of History and Church-State Studies at Baylor. He got his PhD at Kansas State University in 1990. Wrote God's Rascal: J. Frank Norris and the beginnings of the Southern Fundamentalism (Lexingtion: University of Kentucky Press, 1996) and Uneasy in Babylon: Southern Baptist Conservatives and American Culture (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2002).
In the “Series Foreward,” Linda S. Frey and Marsha L. Frey... We can chart our future from our past. 1500 to 1900 was a period of profound change. Topics were chosen by an advisory board.
In the “Preface,” Barry Hankins describes the component chapters of the book. Currently only 85 percent of Americans claim to believe in God. While can be traced to Puritans much came from First (1730s and 1740s) and Second (1800 - 1850) Great Awakenings. The second and transcendentalism encompass this book. This book is a synthetic view of scholarship available on both topics. First two chapters are overviews. Last four are the profound effects of both movements.
In “Chapter 1: The Second Great Awakening: An Overview,” Barry Hankins discusses the development of revivals (and there flashpoints) as influential in history of Second Great Awakening. First Great Awakening (1730s to 1740s) seen as America’s first national event. Second Great Awakening had similar effects on the 19th century. This Christian revival surprising because it should have been enlightenment in the form of Thomas Jefferson. Deism would have been logical because more enlightenment inspired. While there was a large growth of the deism in New England. church’s revolutionary fervor tended to alienate it from its constitutiency (Hankins:2). Western migration also effected the development of churches. From 1776 to 1800 a tough time for evangelical Protestantism. “Ignoring the Methodists and Baptists, dismissing the Unitarians, or fearing Catholics and diests, these Protestant ministers saw the declension of their own kind of religion everywhere they looked.” (Hankins:3) Inspite the first amendment, states still taxed religious institutions in the first years after the Constitution. Revival used as term in recapturing religious vitality of earlier years. This was also embodied by outdoor revivals. While revivals shaped the West, but began on the eastern seaboard. Enabled by the stable society there. “Revivals, therefore, often occurred among those who were raised in the faith but had not found it meaningful in their own lives.” (Hankins:5) Timothy Dwight, a Yale President/preacher, found very few students that believed in God. He therefore led a revival prior to 1801.
The New England revivals were Calvinist. Calvin believed in predestination, God’s sovereignty, People could not self-correct, and Christ wanted to save sinners. In the West, tendency to dismiss Calvin. Western revivals were far more emotional.
First two western camp revivals Gasper River and Cane Ridge in KY called the Great Revival. Gasper River led by James McGready. Who had convervsion experience in 1786. Honed his revivalistic style in North Carolina. Moved to Logan County, KY (near Bowling Green) in 1796. “The influx of revivalist Presbyterian preachers and a youthful population recently removed from Virginia and North Carolina combined to produce the necessary chemistry for an outbreak of revival fervor.” (Hankins:8) June 1800, the Gasper River people traveled from all around, 45 people were converted. Barton Stone decided to organize the year after in Cane Ridge. Decided to model own revival after Cane Ridge. Stone announced sacraments for service August, 1801. Estimate between 10,000 and 25,000 to Cane Ridge. This was reported as one of the greatest outpouring of the Holy Spirit. While emotional, extreme emotions used to discredit (ie. treeing the devil). These revivals led to schisms in various demonimations. One divide between Presbeteryians in KY who began to hire uneducated preachers for revivals. Also this group began to challenge Stone for preaching non-Calvinist approach to religion.
From here the center of gravity to Methodists and Baptists. There theology followed free-will Jacob Arminius. Methodists organization (circuit-riding) fueled revivalism. Baptists were congregationalists.
In the early 1800s, there was a polishing period before moved back east. In the second decade moved back NE, with less emotional style promoted by Lyman Beecher, Nathaniel Taylor, and Asahel Nettleton. Revivials in the East would promote benevolent societies (ie. African Colonization Society). In the 1820s, moderate revivals continued in New England. Charles Finney big figure. Brought about advanced advertising, anxious bench, mixing gender. In 1824 through 1827, swept through New York Hudson River. Finney set up Oberlin College in 1836.
Revival of 1858 as the end of the era. Religion in the 1840s and 1850s seemed to stagnate for more secular concerns. 1857 revival in Pittsfield, MA; Pittsburgh, PA; Columbia, SC; and Hamilton, ON. Revivals of 1858, as urban phenomenon. New York City a spontaneous meeting breaking out. Philly also. British Isles also experienced this.
In “Chapter 2: Transcendentalism as a New Religious Movement,” Barry Hankins describes transcendentalism a mixture of individualism/self-reliance and belief in nature. Transcendentalism as a tagent to this religious awakening but unorthodox. Tough to pinpoint beginning but September 19, 1836 meeting of Unitarian minister George Ripley with Ralph Waldo Emerson, Convers Francis, Fredrick Hedge, etc. to discuss shortcomings of church. Thoreau absent. Emerson’s Nature as the manifesto for Transcendentalism. They rejected the Trinity, the divinity, did not believe that Christ was uniquely God’s son. They retained Puritanistic ideals too, with emphasis on moral living and duty. Nature came out during 1836. “To know God (the universal spirit), therefore, one must be in harmony with nature.” (Hankins:26) Rebelled against the idea that one should be consumed with Millenialism. Natural world not divine for others besides transcendentalists. Emerson encourages men to be of action. “American Scholar” lecture in 1838. Instead of making Christ divine, people needed to realize that they themselves had commune with God. All of this was in contrast to Calvinsim. Transcendentalism people did not have to work on doing good but get in tune with nature. Thoreau in Walden (1854) simple life at Walden Pond. Walden’s reasoning 1) man was made to be free but enslaved “2) freedom comes through self-reliance that is made possible by simplifying one’s life 3) living in accordance with nature is the best way to health and happiness; and 4) truth is ultimate and should be valued above money, love, or fame.” (Hankins:32) This put him on a collision course with capitalism. While anti-institutional religion, transcendentalists shared reform impulse. Both Thoreau and Emerson antisocial but others were not. Brook Farm commune where Hawthorne went with wife. Fruitlands even went as far as vegetarian diet. This being said there was a push for individualism.
In “Chapter 3: Charles Finney and the Democratic Empowerment of Urban Revivals,” Barry Hankins holds Charles Finney as a representative of the later fervor in Second Great Awakening and also historiographically delineates between social control and empowerment theories of revivals at the time. Charles Finney supposedly one of the most influential peoples of that time. At 29, he converted to evangelical Protestant Christianity in 1821. He had an athletic build. Grew up in Onieda County, NY. Career change from attorney after conversion. First revival in 1824. He used a modified version of Calvinsim to base his teachings. Finney followed Arminian theology. Being along the Erie canal allowed Finney to preach to developing industrial centers. Finney came in contrast with Lyman Beecher and Nettleton. There was a joint conference between the different views. After the conference, Finney was able to hit major seaboard communities in the 1820s. Greatest Finney revival in 1831 in Rochester. People would shut down there shops to attend. “The Second Great Awakening set the tone for evangelical Protestantism’s hegemony that would last until the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuryies when large numbers of Roman Catholic and Jewish immigrants began to challenge the Protestant consensus the Awakening forged.” (Hankins:48) By 1831, he moved to Boston. Then NYC. Finney also preached simple living but different from Transcendentalists in that simple moral living. In 1836 recruitted for Oberlin, as split from Lane Seminary in Cincy which was too moderate on slavery question.
Shopkeeper Millennium challenges idea that revival as a counter for capitalism. For Johnson, many connected to commmunity. Johnson holds that these revivals helped to create bourgeois middle class. Within this they promoted revivals to control the lower classes. Temperance as the best illustration of social control. William Sutton’s Journeymen for Jesus: Evangelical confront Capitalism in Jacksonian Baltimore holds that revivals empowered workers. Most researchers of today agree with Sutton that revivals had appeal in all different sectors of society. Johnson therefore tends to have a Marxist interpretation.
In “Chapter 4: Revivals and the Development of African American Religion in America,” Barry Hankins....One of the most important proccesses was the conversion of Africans to Christianity, while the process began with the First Great Awakening, the Second accelerated it. Experience different in that they all belonged to very diverse religions prior to immigration.
Religions had prepared African Americans well for exposure to Christianity. In particular the belief in a higher god fit into this all. Ancestor also important and challenging them often led to gods attacking. They saw gods and spirits as quite active. In contrast to the scientific world view of Europeans this fit better with religion. Cites Albert Rabatoeau. This background and the Awakenings allowed a distinctly African religion.
From the 15th century, the conversion of Africans to Christianity a justification for slavery. Yet by seventeenth and eighteenth century, North American Churches were fairly indifferent about conversion (Hankins:63). Also whites did not really want to give religion incase used for justification. Some missionaries and preachers denied that religion allowed freedom but this later was turned into a justification. Religion had relative little effect on whites prior to Second Great Awakening. First GA began to bridge the gap between white and black practices. Many Protestants viewed converted African Americans to evangelize Africa. By the end of the FGA, clear that religion did not effect black’s status.
In the SGA combination of African and American religion created a distinct brand of Protestant Christianity. Right after the Revolution various groups were able to come up with Anti-slavery tracts. John Leland Baptist activist in 1789 advocated for freedom of slavery. Prior to 1800, Methodists required traveling preachers to emanicipate slaves. African Americans embrassed the emotional camp revivals. Since Baptists and Methodists put less emphasis on education their doors were more open to black preachers. Whites needed to make sure that they could cover the representation of African American slaves (so even in religion not equitable). Plantation missions took place on Sunday, preaching at slaves levels. Still differences of emotions tended to persist (ie. ring shout). In this form of Christianity proved adaptable to African styles.
Gabriel’s rebellion was an appeal to religion in a Virginia rebellion in 1800. Denmark Vesey in 1822. Inspired by Tousant and Gabriel in a mix of African and Christian religion. But arrests took place prior to. Nat Turner revolt. Turner Baptist from Southampton, Virginia. Turner’s visions similar to Tousaint L’Ouverture’s dream in 1828. All the slave revolts inspired by revivals.
In “Chapter 5: The Second Great Awakening, Transcendentalism, and the Antislavery Impulse,” Barry Hankins....Social reform also a great outgrowth of the Second Great Awakening. After Revolution, America became the exception. Reform impulse was part of shift from Calvinism to Arminianism. Christs sacrifice seen as volunteerism. One of the major reform movements was abolitionism. Timothy Weld influential leader. Weld’s near death experience as a transition into antislavery. Was colonization person in 1820s, in 1830s became abolitionist. Weld went against Lyman Beecher. Instead of being a Oberliner, he travelled as a antislavery lecturer. Produced American Slavery As It Is: Testimony of a Thousand Witnesses in 1838. Yet in 1840s, he began to lose faith in reform.
Tappan brothers (Arthur and Lewis). Lewis got into revivalism as financial situation was deterorating. Already associated with Finney ment Garrison. Violence perpetrated against them.
Transcendentalists also opposed slavery. Emerson took the lead in antislavery. Elijah Lovejoy killed in 1837 in Illinois. Emerson gives an 1844 speech on emancipation. 1851, Emerson called for civil disobedience against the Fugitive slave Act. Thoreau’s civil disobedience (not pay tax) as protest to Mexican American War and possible slave expansion. Thoreau and Emerson became part of underground railroad. Thoreau’s support of John Brown the most radical thing that he did. Yet these people differed in their views on what would be the appropraite action for fighting slavery.
In “Chapter 6: Revivalism and Feminism,” Barry Hankins....Woman’s rights tightly tied to abolitionist movement and both influenced by SGA. Sometimes liberal religions, trivialized women’s roles to the domestic sphere. “Evangelical feminists emphasized the basic equality in areas such as the right to control their own finances, sue for divorce and child custody, practice birth control, become educated, seek employment, and vote.” (Hankins:110) Women as part of Benevolence Soceity in 1797. Joining many different groups by 1820. Revivalism began to exert leveling effect on soceity. Beecher and the Grimke’s made appeals to religion in their appeals for rights. Favorite biblical text is Galatians 3:28, equalling all before God. Finney was a critic of having women as part of prayer meetings. In 1850s, some leaders began to abandon the Bible for natural rights arguments. Many felt that this sputtered as a result of losing momentum as abolitionism lost power. Grimke sisters important. Sarah and Angelina born at turn of century Charleston, SC. Sarah had experiences in the North and became abolitionist. Angelina followed married Theodore Weld.