American History I
For this assignment you are going to utilize your critical thinking and communication skills. The purpose of this assignment is also to encourage you to take an active role in your own learning by providing you with primary sources to help you better understand the Great Awakening and its role in shaping the English colonies, and more generally American history.
Students should begin by reviewing the sections on the Great Awakening in the American Promise textbook. Students should then carefully read the sources on the Blackboard course site. First you should read, “Some Thoughts Concerning the Present Revival of Religion,” by Jonathan Edwards. Some questions you should consider: According to Jonathan Edwards how did the Great Awakening change New England? What does he describe as the results of this religious movement? How did Edwards answer critics who criticized the dissension and disorder created by the religious revivals? How did Edwards interpret the Awakening as a sign of the possible destiny of America?
Next you should read “The Great Awakening is a Welcome Religious Revival,” by an Assembly of Pastors of Churches in New England. Some questions to consider include: How does the assembly of pastors describe the revivals? Why do they see them as the working of God? How do they suggest the religious converts were changed? What do they see as some of the potential dangers of the revivals?
Finally you should then read Charles Chauncy’s sermon excerpt in “The Great Awakening Has Led to Harmful Religious Zealotry.” Some questions to consider include: How does Chauncy describe the religious “enthusiasm?” What role does his idea of reason play in his criticism of the revivals? How does he think reason can combat this enthusiasm? To Chancy what is the “real, sober religion?”
Having completed your research you will be prepared to develop an argument about the differing views of the effects of the Great Awakening in colonial America. Your essay should begin with an introductory paragraph, which introduces your paper, contains your thesis statement (which explains your central argument), and provides an outline for your essay. The body of your essay should include a discussion of at least some of the questions listed above for each reading. More generally you might discuss why you think the authors disagree on these revivals, and if you can find any areas of agreement (it is okay if you look and do not find any). You might also discuss which of the sources you find most persuasive.
You should end your essay with a concluding paragraph which restates your position and discusses what these documents show about religious freedom in early American history. You must use the primary sources in order to support your argument.
Papers should be 3-4 pages double-spaced with 12 point Times New Roman font, with appropriate citations, and page numbers. Your paper should have MS Word standard default margins (1 inch top and bottom with one inch sides). Short papers and papers deviating from these standards will be penalized. You must cite all sources using the Chicago/Turabian system with footnotes or endnotes. Any student caught plagiarizing will receive a zero and will be referred to the Office of the Dean of Students. Proofread your essay before turning it in.
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