Hutson 18th Century Religion Article Summary

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Jordan Scott David Holland HIST 411 October 22, 2012 18th Century Religion In James Hutson’s article “Religion in Eighteenth Century America” he describes many false interpretations. Many historians have described that throughout the eighteenth century the American people’s religious views were pushed aside by movements such as Enlightenment. Hutson argues that this couldn’t be farther from the truth. He goes on to reveal that religion did not only remain strong during this period, but also strengthened, and illustrated the severity of Evangelicalism and how it dominated America up till the Civil War. Hutson first begins his essay by completely stating that the assumption of religious declination during the last three decades of the 1700s is completely inaccurate. He begins supporting this claim by pointing out that maybe few men perhaps stopped accepting church memberships, but large numbers of women continued to accept full commitments to the church and attained a full communion to the Quaker and Puritan meetings. Huston also goes to describe that although church turnout may have been down, the eighteenth century was filled with the “do-it-yourself” mentality, so people were not gathering as much as they have. He also discusses how religious convictions were at higher estimates then ever during this century. Hutson states that people of this time were, “willing to embrace anything that looks like religion, rather than have none at all”. Christianity was only spread to the fullest by action and it had to come from organizations that already preexisted, or be created as it was. The strongest point that Hutson makes is when he describes why there was such confusion between early scholars that were present in this time that described the religious declination up until the Great Awakening and the scholars who opposed this. Hutson directly states, “The point is
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