During the Great Awakening in the 1730's- 1700's, a revitalization of religious piety swept through the American colonies. Many fundamentals of the Great Awakening were based on the evangelical upsurge taking place in the Northern colonies and on the other side of the Atlantic, most notably in England, Scotland, and Germany. Evangelicalism is the conversion of individuals from a state of sin to a "new birth" through preaching of the Word. Events such as sermons from preachers such as George Whitefield or Jonathan Edwards lead the way in the newly found appeal of evangelical Christianity.
In the early American phase of the Great Awakening, signs of this new age of thinking appeared among Presbyterians in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Led by Reverend William Tennent and his associates, they established a seminary in 1730 to train clergymen whose preaching would bring sinners to experience evangelical conversion. This seminary later became known as Princeton University. This religious enthusiasm quickly spread from the Middle Colonies to the New England colonies. Sermons became powerful omnipotence messages delivered by emotional preachers like Jonathan Edwards who evoked vivid images of the corruption of human nature and terrors awaiting in hell. Hence Edward's most famous sermon, "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" which describes god suspending a sinner over the pit of hell. The early revivals in the Northern colonies inspired convents to become missionaries in the Southern colonies. By the eve of the American Revolution, the evangelical converts accounted for ten percent of church attendees in the South.
The Great Awakening in the American colonies was greatly influenced by the ideas of the English. In particular, English preacher, George Whitefield who was ordained as a minister of the Church of England, joined other Anglican clergy men, John and Charles Wesley, who shared his perspective of the evangelical idea.