The Great Awakening


Enlightenment and the Great Awakening


Enlightenment was a movement in the 1700s that revived interest in education, science and literature, rejecting traditional ways of life (Benjamin Franklin was a key figure). It looked for a more rational way to explain existance and questioned the authority of the Church when they couldn't explain things that science discovered. It argued that:

  • People are generally good and it is the environment that influences behaviour
  • Science can answer life's mysteries
  • Deism called God the 'Great Clock Maker'; God made the world but then left.


  • There was a surge of literacy in the colonies and the number of newspaper and book publications increased.
  • Schools and colleges were erected in new towns and villages.
  • Deisim was a different view that challenged the Church's authority, especially the Divine Right of Kings. So colonists began to question the King.
  • Furthermore, colonists understood that people were born with


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