Third Great Awakening

From Conservapedia
Jump to: navigation, search

The Third Great Awakening was a period of religious activism in American history from the late 1850s to the 1900s. It energized pietistic or evangelical Protestant denominations[1] and generated a strong sense of social activism, known as the Social Gospel. It gathered strength from the postmillennial theology that the Second Coming of Christ would come after mankind had reformed the entire earth. The Social Gospel Movement gained its force from the Awakening, as did the worldwide missionary movement. New groupings emerged, such as the Pentecostalism, Holiness and Nazarene movements.


The Protestant mainline churches were growing rapidly in numbers, wealth and educational levels, throwing off their frontier beginnings and become centered in towns and cities. Intellectuals and writers such as Josiah Strong advocated a muscular Christianity with systematic outreach to the unchurched in America and around the globe. Others built colleges and universities to train the next generation. Each denomination supported active missionary societies, and made the role of missionary one of high prestige. The great majority of pietistic mainline Protestants (in the North) supported the Republican Party, and urged it to endorse prohibition and social reforms. See Third Party System

The awakening in numerous cities in 1858 was interrupted by the American Civil War. In the South, on the other hand, the Civil War stimulated revivals, especially in General Robert E. Lee's army. After the war, Dwight Moody made revivalism the centerpiece of his activities in Chicago by founding the Moody Bible Institute. The hymns of Ira Sankey were especially influential.

The Gilded Age plutocracy came under harsh attack from the Social Gospel preachers and with reformers in the Progressive Era. Historian Robert Fogel identifies numerous reforms, especially the battles involving child labor, compulsory elementary education and the protection of women from exploitation in factories.[2] The most powerful force was a crusade for the prohibition of alcohol. The major pietistic Protestant denominations all sponsored growing missionary activities inside the United States and around the world. Colleges associated with denominations rapidly expanded in number, size and quality of curriculum. The YMCA became a force in many cities, as did denominational youth groups such as the Epworth League (Methodist) and the Walther League (Lutheran).

The Woman's Christian Temperance Union mobilized Protestant women for social crusades against liquor, pornography and prostitution, and sperked the demand for woman suffrage.

New sects

The Holiness Movement led to the formation of new denominations especially the Church of the Nazarene (1908) and the Church of God (Anderson, Indiana) (1881).

Mary Baker Eddy introduced Christian Science, which gained a national following. In 1880, the Salvation Army denomination arrived in America. Although its theology was based on ideals expressed during the Second Great Awakening, its focus on poverty was of the Third. The Society for Ethical Culture was established in New York in 1876 by Felix Adler attracted a Reform Jewish clientèle.

With Jane Addams's Hull House in Chicago as its center, the settlement house movement and the vocation of social work became a new career opportunity for reforming society directly, without using government agencies.

International impact

Im (2000) compared the evangelistic method and results of the Third Great Awakening in America with the Korean revivals of 1884-1910. Many techniques of the Second and Third Great Awakenings were transposed from America to Europe, including the circuit-riding system of the Methodists, the Baptist farmer preachers, the campus revivals of the eastern seaboard, the camp meetings in the West, the new measures of Charles Finney, the Layman's Prayer Revival, urban mass revivalism of D. L. Moody, and the Student Volunteer Movement. Im discovered four areas of influence from a comparison and analysis of the two countries' revivals: the establishment of tradition, the adoption of similar emphases, the incorporation of evangelistic methodologies, and the observation of the results of the revivals. The American revivals had a major influence on the Korean revivals, and the American revival tradition and enthusiasm toward missions helped Korean Christians develop their own religious experience and tradition. This tradition has influenced Korean churches even into the 21st century.[3]


  • Abell, Aaron. The Urban Impact on American Protestantism, 1865-1900 (1943).
  • Ahlstrom, Sydney E. A Religious History of the American People. (1972), the standard scholarly history. excerpt and text search
  • Bordin, Ruth. Woman and Temperance: The Quest for Power and Liberty, 1873-1900 (1981).
  • Curtis, Susan. A Consuming Faith: The Social Gospel and Modern American Culture. (1991).
  • Dieter, Melvin Easterday. The Holiness Revival of the Nineteenth Century (1980).
  • Dorsett, Lyle W. Billy Sunday and the Redemption of Urban America (1991).
  • Dorsett, Lyle W. A Passion for Souls: The Life of D. L. Moody. (1997).
  • Edwards, Wendy J. Deichmann. and Carolyn De Swarte Gifford. Gender and the Social Gospel (2003) excerpt and text search
  • Evensen; Bruce J. God's Man for the Gilded Age: D.L. Moody and the Rise of Modern Mass Evangelism (2003) online edition
  • Findlay, James F. Dwight L. Moody: American Evangelist, 1837-1899 (1969).
  • Finke, Roger, and Rodney Stark. The Churching of America, 1776-1990: Winners and Losers in Our Religious Economy (1992).
  • Fishwick, Marshall W. Great Awakenings: Popular Religion and Popular Culture (1995)
  • Fogel, Robert William. The Fourth Great Awakening and the Future of Egalitarianism (2000)
  • Giggie, John M. "The Third Great Awakening: Religion and the Civil Rights Movement." Reviews in American History 2005 33(2): 254-262. Issn: 0048-7511 Fulltext: Project Muse
  • Hutchison, William R. Errand to the World: American Protestant Thought and Foreign Missions. (1987).
  • Im, Chun Beh. "A Critical Investigation of the Influence of the Second Great Awakening and Nineteenth-Century Revival on Revivals in Korea (1884-1910)." PhD dissertation New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary 2000. 200 pp. Citation: DAI 2001 61(10): 4044-A. DA9991964
  • Jensen, Richard. The Winning of the Midwest: Social and Political Conflict, 1888-1896 (1971)
  • Keller, Rosemary Skinner, Rosemary Radford Ruether, and Marie Cantlon, eds. Encyclopedia of Women And Religion in North America (3 vol 2006) excerpt and text search
  • Long, Kathryn Teresa. The Revival of 1857-58: Interpreting an American Religious Awakening Oxford University Press, 1998 online edition
  • Luker, Ralph E. The Social Gospel in Black and White American Racial Reform, 1885-1912. (1991)online edition
  • Luker, Ralph E. "Liberal Theology and Social Conservatism: a Southern Tradition, 1840-1920." Church History v 10#2 1981. pp 193–207 p online edition
  • Marty, Martin E. Modern American Religion, Vol. 1: The Irony of It All, 1893-1919 (1986); Modern American Religion. Vol. 2: The Noise of Conflict, 1919-1941 (1991)
  • Marsden, George M. Fundamentalism and American Culture: The Shaping of Twentieth-Century Evangelicalism, 1870-1925 (1980). very important history online edition
  • McClymond, Michael, ed. Encyclopedia of Religious Revivals in America. (2007). Vol. 1, A–Z: xxxii, 515 pp. Vol. 2, Primary Documents: xx, 663 pp. isbn 0-313-32828-5/set.
  • McLoughlin, William G. Modern Revivalism: Charles Grandison Finney to Billy Graham 1959.
  • McLoughlin, William G. Revivals, Awakenings, and Reform: An Essay on Religion and Social Change in America, 1607-1977. (1978).
  • Miller, Randall M., Harry S. Stout, and Charles Reagan. Religion and the American Civil War (1998) excerpt and text search; complete edition online
  • Sizer, Sandra. Gospel Hymns and Social Religion: The Rhetoric of Nineteenth-Century Revivalism. (1978).
  • Smith, Timothy L. Called Unto Holiness, the Story of the Nazarenes: The Formative Years. Kansas City: Nazarene Publishing House, 1962.
  • Smith, Timothy L. Revivalism and Social Reform: American Protestantism on the Eve of the Civil War (1957).
  • Shenk, Wilbert R., ed. North American Foreign Missions, 1810-1914: Theology, Theory, and Policy (2004) 349pp important essays by scholars excerpt and text search
  • Ward, W. R. The Protestant Evangelical Awakening (1992). excerpt and text search
  • Weisberger, Bernard A. They Gathered at the River: The Story of the Great Revivalists and Their Impact upon Religion in America (1958).

Primary sources

  • Carroll, H. K. The Religious Forces of the United States, Enumerated, Classified and Described: Returns for 1900 and 1910 Compared with the Government Census of 1890: Condition and Characteristics of Christianity in the United States (1912), very usefuul sumamries of each denomination and detailed statistics. complete text online free
  • McLoughlin, William G. ed. The American Evangelicals, 1800-1900: An Anthology 1976.


  1. The pietistic or "evangelical" denomonations stressed personal relations with Christ, while the rival liturgical denominations stressed formal observances.
  2. Fogel p 108
  3. Im (2000)

See also