The First Great Awakening: Religion and Politics



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The First Great Awakening: Religion and Politics
When you wake up from a long sleep, perhaps you feel refreshed and ready to take on the day. For the colonists in the 1700s, they had long been in a “spiritual” sleep. Follow these directions to learn about the changes in religious and political life in colonial America. Write answers to each prompt in your notebook.


  1. Preview: What do the painting “Boston in Mid-18th Century” and the Religion woodcut tell you about religion in the colonies?




  1. Read “Religion” (56) with the class.

    1. Your book says “By encouraging ideas of liberty, equality, and resistance to authority, the Great Awakening helped pave the way for the American Revolution.” Analyze each word below on its own:

      1. Liberty: Liberty means freedom. What kinds of freedom were happening in religious life at this time?

      2. Authority: Who were the old authorities in the church, and who were the new authorities? How could churchgoers have resisted authority? Give one example.




  1. Turn and talk: I will read you an excerpt from a piece called “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” What do you expect the piece to contain?

    1. Listen to Mrs. Allen read the excerpt.

      1. Turn and talk: What did you notice? What would your emotional response have been to this sermon? What did you picture?

    2. Look at the first reading on the back of this handout. Highlight the line that best reveal’s the speaker’s main point.




  1. On your own: Read the title of the Jonathan Mayhew speech on the back. What do you think “unlimited submission and non-resistance” means?

    1. Read. As you go, highlight words that you think are “social studies” words, important to understand as you read about history this year.




  1. Assignment: Write an informative/explanatory paragraph (100 words or more), explaining how colonists changed from obedient listeners (see Ch. 4.8) to revolutionaries who wanted to rebel against English rule. Use at least one quote from a sermon in your paragraph to show how the Great Awakening helped the colonists become rebellious.




Standards RH 4, 6, 10; WHST 2, 9, 10


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