In New England the movement died out rapidly, leaving behind bitter doctrinal disputes between the
New Lights and the
Old Lights, the latter led by Charles Chauncy, a Boston clergyman, who opposed the revivalist movement as extravagant and impermanent. The theology of the
New Lights, a slightly modified Calvinism, crystallized into the Edwardian, or New England, theology that became dominant in W New England, whereas the liberal doctrines of the
Old Lights, strong in Boston and the vicinity, were destined to develop into the Universalist or Unitarian positions. A similar division between
New Sides and
Old Sides took place in the Middle Colonies, causing a schism (1741–58) in the Presbyterian Church.
The Great Awakening also resulted in an outburst of missionary activity among Native Americans by such men as David Brainerd, Eleazar Wheelock, and Samuel Kirkland; in the first movement of importance against slavery; and in various other humanitarian undertakings. It led to the founding of a number of academies and colleges, notably Princeton, Brown, Rutgers, and Dartmouth. It served to build up interests that were intercolonial in character, to increase opposition to the Anglican Church and the royal officials who supported it, and to encourage a democratic spirit in religion.
See A. E. Heimert and P. Miller, ed., Great Awakening: Documents Illustrating the Crisis and Its Consequences (1967). J. Tracy, A History of the Revival of Religion in the Time of Edwards and Whitefield (1845, repr. 1969); C. H. Maxson, The Great Awakening in the Middle Colonies (1920, repr. 1958); W. M. Gewehr, The Great Awakening in Virginia (1930, repr. 1965); E. S. Gaustad, The Great Awakening in New England (1957, repr. 1965); R. L. Bushman, ed., The Great Awakening (1969, repr. 1989); D. B. Rutman, The Great Awakening (1970); C. L. Heyrman, Southern Cross (1997).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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