The second awakening refers to the reprise in the 18th century, marked by personal opinions over theology and schooling. It occurred in different places each taking its active form. For instance, in western New York, it led to growth of new denominations, northern England the movement led to social activism while in Appalachian areas of Kentucky and Tennessee the revival energized the Methodists, Presbyterians and Baptists giving rise to evangelism. The revival meetings started in Kentucky in 1800 where James McGready together with two other preachers of Presbyterian preached for three days.
According to Hatch, one the major characteristic of the American Christianity within this Great Awakening era was not revivalism but a group of leaders who were charismatic as they proclaimed visions of individual’s collective self confidence and self respect. Here were various meetings that involved unlicensed ministers encouraging uncensored testimonies by any person regardless of the age and sex. This led to construction of new ideologies by leaders such as Elias Smith, Barton Stone and Francis Asbury. The new ideologies saw the even the uneducated or inexperienced invited in answering Gog’s call on preaching. This led to encouragement of the commoners to take religion on their own hands while opposing centralized authority. This would later lead to free rein of Baptists, Methodists and Christians in organizing and experiment their doctrines. Therefore, they could only maintain their denomination through exercise only according to Hatch.
Diversity and pluralism allowed the Americans to find satisfaction despite their practices, beliefs and institutional structures. This would later unite the American denomination towards democracy. They also saw the introduction of music in their religious formation. As the commoners were resistance to such movement, Christians encourage it and it later led to the same practice in the Methodists and Baptists. This led to another common thing that would see the introduction of democracy in American religions.
According to Hatch fourth chapter, five separate religions examined their doctrines which were somehow common thus, basing their structures to common understanding. They included the Baptists, Christians, Mormons, Methodists and black churches. Although they had common ideologies, they differed in their theological stands. For instance, Alexander Campbell and John Leland of Baptists favored democratic governance while Joseph Smith’ Mormon and Francis Asbury’s Methodists focused on top to down governance. Elias Smith of Christian wanted new church which would be democratic and based on egalitarian principles. This led to the Smith encouraging doctrine of religion of, by, and for the people, a democratic religion. Through this they used to mock others through newspapers and other reading materials.
Christians would preach grace, sin and conversion as themes of democracy. Their leaders insisted of fellowship which were spontaneous and resisted social distinctions. According to Hatch the reform espoused by Christians started with placing the clergy and laity on equal footing. Christians also rejected traditional theologies therefore welcoming innovation and inquiry. Again the Christians insisted on hermeneutic premise on right of all the people in understanding the New Testament. This posed as an important characteristic to this movement.
Hatch considered other examples and characteristic of second awakening as the black preachers who contributed entirely to democracy of American Christianity. The blacks involved themselves into Baptist and Methodists where at first they were Christians. The movement had to welcome blacks as it fought against slavery and participation in the communion. Gain the blacks were attracted to the Christianity would be easily understood and offer experience to the uneducated. The black preachers summoned the advantages of communal ecstasy as well as encouraged spontaneous chanting, shouting while singing. On the other hand, Methodist and Baptist revivals involved a style of worship representing a Christian "mirror image of the same religious heritage well know.
The revivalists of Second Great Awakening introduced Evangelical Protestants and through their change of Calvinist theology as well as practice changed the landscape of the religion irreversibly in United States. Therefore, when the Second Great Awakening achieved its maturity, between late 1820s and 1830s, it led to awakening of a familiar character, comprising also of different characters, manifested in Boston and going by the name "Transcendentalism." It later set aside the common differences in the churches and led to generation of common understanding. Denomination would respect each other owing to common interest, worship. States united and preaching of the gospel gave freedom to all the diversity in United States.
In conclusion, second great awakening movement according to Hatch spread through southern Ohio, Tennessee and Kentucky. Characteristics of the Baptist and Methodist denominations became property and part of on the frontier. Methodists encouraged circuit riders coming from among their common allies; they entered the remote areas thus enjoying natural rapport with the families that were isolated as they evangelized. These evangelists included Baptists, local farmers mostly received the God call, given through their Bibles, they then started congregations—that ordained them. Therefore, the Bible belt within the South and Border States had their root on this format. Thus, Second Great Awakening encouraged a lasting effect on American society, as compared to any other revival in America. Although its favor abated, it left behind legacy of many well established churches, social reform and democratization.
Hatch, Nathan O. The Democratization of American Christianity. Connecticut: Yale University
Press, 1989. Print.