The Road to Revolution
The First Great Awakening
A series of events over several decades: movement about enthusiasm – religious feeling (preaching style)
Jonathan Edwards: prominent traveling minister: used fiery language. “Sinners in the hands of an Angry God” .
Climaxed with emotional release from sin right on the spot.
George Whitefield: the most prominent traveling minister – most important. The first modern celebrity. Had a
commanding presence – captivating. Drew great crowds in Philedalphia. Even Benjamin Franklin went to go see him
– estimated the crowd to be about 30,000 people.
Lead to clashes between traveling ministers and the established clergys
Traveling ministers empowered people : even women and blacks.
Notion of spiritual equality: appealed to slaves.
Lead to new churches which included both free & enslaved people in the same church
Tended to speak against slave revolts & stealing from their masters
Punished masters who were too abusive to their slaves
Rare cases: Slave masters freed slaves based purely on religious conviction – Robert Cardon
Democratized religion in America
Challenged Colonial culture of deference: empowered people to decide religion on their own
Egalitarianism: emphasis on speech rather than reading – opens religion to illiterate and poor.
Unified force: Culturally.
Necessary precursor to politics of Revolution
The Seven Years War
Americans were not united: relationship to English empire & colony instead
No deep political connections between colonies – changed in 1754 with the onset of FrancoIndian war: Seven Years
War between French, colonists, Native American allies VS English, colonists, native American allies
Ends French presence as imperial power in North America. Concludes with Treaty of Paris: Britain and Spain divide
America: Britain got East of Mississippi; Spanish got West
Led to downfall of England – beginning of letdown between Britain and her colonies. Friction starts in North America when England moved West into colonies owned by French who had smaller amount of
colonies: had forts instead. Also had much better relationships with Natives.
Natives understood that it was beneficial to have French and England fight for their relationship.
Struggle over land: English colonists who pushed the issue. Especially a small owner of wealthy speculators who
claimed disputed regions of back country and sold land to settlers (George Washington).
Fort Necessity: Built by George Washington ; owned by France. Captured & humiliated, forced to sign treaty stating it
was his fault.
Albany Plan of Union: 1754
Attempt to develop unity with Native Americans
Wanted Irroquois to join English against the Frnce
Mastermind of Ben Franklin.
First precedence for political cooperation among colonies
Failed: colonies did not abide
Would have developed elective legislature among colonies – feared losing autonomy. Turned it down
English colonies unable to create a united front – have to rely