In the middle of the 18th century the American colonies experienced two major revivals that had lasting effects on the country regarding religion, government and society.
The First Great Awakening was a Christian revitalization movement that swept first European countries and then, in the 1730s and 1740s, the colonies in America. Church leaders, such as Jonathan Edwards or George Whitefield, got concerned that the colonists lost their religious zeal and preached in a dramatic and emotional style, attracting a large following. The new faiths that emerged were much more democratic in their approach and they lessened the hold of the Anglican Church which was later applied to a political field. Through the Awakening, the Colonists realized that religious power resided in their own hands, rather than in the hands of the Church, or any other authority.
The Enlightenment, cultural movement of intellectuals had the purpose to reform society using reason. It challenged the role of religion and divine right and put an emphasis upon liberty, democracy and republicanism in the political life. So, John Locke, one of the prominent E. thinkers argued that the people had every right to rebel against government if it violated their natural rights.
All in all, these two major movements produced a new understanding of society's relationships--first with God, and then with government. Shaping new attitudes was a first step towards what will eventually become the struggle for Independence and the American Revolution. However, most of the ideas would perhaps have remained theoretical if not for the wars that swept North America and increased tensions with the crown.
In the early 1750s, French expansion into the Ohio River valley repeatedly brought France into armed conflict with the British colonies and the Seven Year War broke out. The French lost the war and in 1763 the Treaty of Paris was signed. However, the war had many important implications.
A huge factor in the start of...