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The Great Awakening and the Enlightenment

            The English colonies of North America rarely interacted with one another. From the beginning, the Northern, Middle, and Southern colonies did not share a common historical path other than the fact that they were all claimed under the English flag. Finally, in the mid-18th century, there came a series of events that linked one colony to another; events in one place were beginning to directly affect other regions. Two of such early "national" events were the Great Awakening and the Enlightenment.
             The Great Awakening was a time period during which churches within the colonies were being "revived" or restored in religious enthusiasm. This movement brought many to repentance and caused many to change their lives. However, this movement did not affect everybody. Many members held onto the traditional practices, believing that no change was necessary for them. Those that accepted revivalism split off from the "old" churches and formed new denominations. This reflected the values of people variation and becoming one's own person. These values gave increase to religious tolerance and gave form to religious equality. One religious group could not have any less freedom than another. This truth was undeniable, so many throughout the colonies accepted it as it spread.
             Reverend George Whitefield's arrival in Georgia in 1738 caused a surge of religious zeal. His easily understandable style of speech enticed many to listen to him. His vibrant and emotionally charged messages helped people to realize how "dead" their churches were and see their need for changes in life. Although not everyone agreed with him along with the other revivalists, Whitefield disregarded sectarian differences when they formed and encouraged his listeners to do the same. .
             The Enlightenment was actually a European movement at first. Scientific findings by the likes of Galileo Galilei and Sir Isaac Newton made their way to America.

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