Historians define the Great Awakening as a period that marked the beginning of evangelical religious movement in the European dominated America in the 17th century. Despite that this period meant the renewal of spirituality in ancient America, this period also revealed vast aspects like social norms and economic status of the new land. This means that this period was a catalyst that fostered vast changes that ended up in the realization of the American dream and globalization.
What did the Great Awakening reveal about 18th century social and economic trends?
The great awakening period revealed numerous aspects about the 18th century, among which include social and economic trends. The most significant aspect fostered during the entire existence this period is the economic revolution, especially when considered that America was a dormant land that had no inhabitants. The invasion of the land by Europeans marked the beginning of the much anticipated economic change because these invaders became the major drivers of economic stability in the land (Roark, 2012, P. 110). The Great Awakening also reveal how slaves contributed to the economic progress because despite that they were brutally enslaved, they tirelessly worked on agricultural lands that later turned out to be the source of economic platform. For this reason, the economic trends transformed from the common farming practice, where the European colonists and settlers farmed for their own food, towards large scale farming meant for sale and export. Surplus farm produce led to the invention of factories and industries, where these products underwent processing and exportation to other regions. More so, the economic trends changed because most of the people in the newly invented world acquired employment in farms and industries; thus, boosting their economic status. In addition, the great awakening period revealed the expansion of cities through industrialization that benefited from the governments change of rules. This was the case because; the ruling colonial government changed the land owning policy from town-owned lands towards selling land directly to individuals (Roark, 2012, p. 113).
Prior to the evolution of economic trends, the great awakening also revealed much about the transformation of the social trends in the developing society. The distinctive colonialists dominated the society and grew richer, while the lower class, commonly the blacks and other non-white native immigrants lived in slavery bondage and abject poverty (Roark, 2012, p. 113). In addition, this period also shows the intensity of racism and lack of social balance because the blacks were perceived as scapegoats and slaves, who bore no rights in the society (Roark, 2012, p. 119). On the other end, the colonial society owned lands, laborers, slaves and were not convicted when they broke the law. In this regard, the great awakening period depicted the wide gap of social inequality and racism in the developing America, an aspect that aided in the push for change and equal social status in the later years. Therefore, the great awakening period was extremely crucial because it revealed the economic and social loopholes that fostered the need for improvement and eventually the realization of a modern America.
Does American today need a Great Awakening?
Considering the fact that the great awakening period in the 18th century revealed many aspects that led to the discovery of the present day prosperous America, the nation does not need another Great Awakening. This is the case because; since its invention, America has been progressing tremendously and it is the present day most modern and super-power nation. This means that its economic trends positively transformed to the extent that it ensures that its citizens attain satisfying economic standards and equal social status. For instance, America invented and embraced the ObamaCare health insurance scheme in order to ensure that all its citizens bear the economic ability to access medication irrespective of their classes. Another aspect that exhibit America’s economic stability is the fact that it is the main fund donor to most developing countries in the world.
On another dimension, America has successfully attained its much-needed advocacy on social equality becuse all citizens are equal irrespective of their color. This mile stone became a reality because the previously dominating white population are shunning away from racism except for few isolated cases. America’s social equality context depicts through the present existence of an African-American president. In this regard, the aforementioned factors exhibit the progress that America has achieved, which calls for no basic reason for another Great Awakening.
The great awakening period was incredibly a significant platform that led to the realization of vast aspects in the ancient America. It helped in revealing how America built its economy and how forced migration and labor was carried out. These revelations led to the need for change, which later led to the realization of the current America because it fostered the beginning of large scale faming, industrialization, governance, freedom of worship and the present day globalization.
Roark, J, Johnson, M, Cohen, P, Stage, S, Lawson, A, & Hartmann, S. (2012). The America Promise: A History of The United States. Third Edition. Bedford/St. Martin’s.