Bruce Gore: Precursors to The Great Awakening

I’m watching a video every other day or so from this series which focuses on the early history of Anglo-Protestants and traces the historical arc from the origins of Calvinism during the Reformation to its spread through Britain and Ireland to the settlement of the American colonies and the English Civil War and ultimately through the Great Awakening and Enlightenment to the American Revolution.

Each video in this series adds a new cultural layer to the story. We’re crossing into the 18th century now when Puritanism and Presbyterianism began to lose steam before the Great Awakening and the rise of evangelical Protestantism. The full series shines a bright spotlight on how these supposedly “universal” ideas we associate with the American Founding organically developed out of English and Scottish culture and history and specifically out of the Calvinist branch of the Protestant tradition.

To recap:

Episode 1: Bruce Gore starts the series by asking why the descendants of Puritan colonists in New England and Scots-Irish Presbyterians in the backcountry played such a starring role in the American Revolution. The obvious answer is their religious and cultural background.

Episode 2: Bruce Gore traces the seeds of radical republicanism back to John Calvin’s theology.

Episode 3: Bruce Gore traces the spread of Calvinism from Geneva to England and Scotland and explains how John Knox and George Buchanan fleshed out a political edifice upon Calvin’s theology.

Episode 4: Bruce Gore explains how Puritan colonists in New England and Scots-Irish Presbyterians in the backcountry transplanted their culture to North America in the 17th century which was an age of major religious turmoil in England, Scotland and Ireland.

Episode 5: Bruce Gore focuses on the Scots and the persecution of Presbyterians in Scotland that followed the Stuart Restoration in the late 17th century. This sparked a wave of migration to the American colonies which began to change their religious demographics.

Episode 6: Bruce Gore focuses on three waves of Calvinists who settled in the American colonies in the 17th and 18th centuries – the New England Puritans, Scot Presbyterians and Scots-Irish Presbyterians – and how religious dissenters who rejected the Anglican Church who had a long history of clashing with the Anglican establishment became the demographic majority in colonial America.

In this video, Bruce Gore looks at the years around 1700 and the background of the Great Awakening which transformed the religious landscape of the American colonies in the 18th century.


  1. I wonder if he will address the revival in the Confederate army during the Civil War – arguably the most important revival in American history.

      • Te, ” handing them their asses, ” Took you yankees, long enough too do it, considering how outmanned and outgunned we were, you people have nothing too gloat about, their were certain southern commanders, who facing , what would appear too be insurmountable odds, still fought circles, around our misguided opponents …..

        • All of my ancestors who fought were Confederates. At least one was killed. I was just stating an uncomfortable truth. Ancient Greece overcame unsurmountable odds to defeat the Persians.

  2. The Presbyterians first and then the Methodist-Calvinists went into the back country and held church services, and tried to help the pioneers on the frontier. This was the big difference between the Calvinists and the Church of England/Anglican which was content to stay in the costal towns and their suburbs.

    • “and then the Methodist-Calvinists”:

      Methodist missionaries and curcuit riders were in the forefront, and Methodists were (and still are) predomiinantly Arminian (Wesleyan-Arminian) not Calvinistic. Methodism has been mostly militantly anti-Calvinist, except for modern liberal Methodists who are neither Wesleyan nor Calvininst and stand for nothing.

      • That’s not true. I’ve never heard any Methodist clergyman descibe Methodism as Arminian. The Methodists don’t have a “house” ideology or a Pope like you Roman Catholics. Much the same with the Presbyterians and Calvin. Predestination what? LOL. Maybe Prevenient grace might be a topic for unknown geniuses of both Protestant denominations.? LOL. Tulips anyone? All agree with Luther and Salvation by Faith alone!

        Maybe in England, but, not in the US.

  3. We need a new Awakening. We have a different situation than our forefathers. The mass media, 99% owned and operated Iby Jews, and the Central Banks they control.

    We have the current example, the purchase of Politico by (((Axel Springer))), which is listed as one of the top five media outfits in Europe.

    Drudge tells us the new “German” owner has plans.

    The first announcement was that all employees henceforth, “must support Israel’s right to exist.”

    They also must support the Jewish controlled EU.

    The protestant reformers had a certain enemy. Our enemy is different.

    You cannot win a war of liberation if you do not even know who the enemy is. Or cannot name him.

  4. I’m still not convinced religion had that much of an influence in the development of this Republic. Economics, geography, race and ethnicity were bigger factors. Charismatic religious charlatans are a dime a dozen.

    • “not convinced religion had that much of an influence in the development of this Republic.”

      If anything the opposite is true.
      The Framers saw how Europe had been torn to shreds by religious strife. The reason they prevented a state religion or any laws regarding religion.

  5. OT

    A bit of good news for all the secession bros wanting the ‘great separation’:

    linkBREAKING: China to use ruble and yuan to pay for Russian gas as opposed to US Dollars.

    Anything that weakens the dollar also weakens the federal government.

  6. Many of my American Ancestors in old Virginia and Maryland were Anglican, some Catholics. As Presbyterianism spread, my first ancestor who traveled to Kentucky was said to have been of that denomination. In the Appalachian mountains where he settled, there were no organized churches or denominations. This would have been in the early 1800’s. That’s when you began to see the organic growth of small non-denominational Christian Churches, that also traced their roots to the Second Great Awakening in Cane Ridge, Kentucky. The Second Great Awakening was a mixture of Presbyterians, Methodists, and Baptists who essentially got together and dissolved their denominational affiliations. Barton Stone and Alexander Campbell were leaders of the Second Great Awakening.
    They then preceded to release a document called “The Last Will and Testament” of the Springfield Presbytery. This document was directed toward uniting the various church denominations and dissolving sectarianism. The Disciples of Christ, the Christian Church and the Church of Christ trace their origins to the Stone Campbell movement.
    We see essentially that by the time the Second Great Awakening takes place, the people had already been red-pilled as to the issues revolving around having a plethora of separate denominations and even cults at that time, early 1800’s. Their goal, dissolving denominationalism was good but they didn’t have the right answer of how to replace it. After all, Our Lord had established one, holy Church. We can trace the war against the Church and the fallout from it, the dismantling of Christendom and all that it held dear, nobility, manners, decentralized states, common law and common good.
    1.) The war against the Church in England and the tyranny of King Henry VIII, because he wanted to be Pope of England and divorce his wife. Thousands of senseless deaths and a reign of terror launched by his ministers, even the block for those who didn’t acknowledge him and take his “Oath of Supremacy”. The dissolution of the monasteries takes place. Henry’s rich friends gain financially. Paupers formerly in the monastic farms feel the streets. (The Russell family first gained their wealth here, as in Bertrand Russell, as did the Washingtons.)
    2.) The degrading of the united Church continues with the establishment of the Anglican Church, a degraded form of Catholicism that loses many of the ancient traditions, the destruction of the altars, the destruction of statues, the prayer book no longer in Latin leads to riots and revolts from those forces to accept the English prayer book like the men of Cornwall, who did not speak English.
    3.) The second revolution takes place, this time against Anglicanism on many fronts, the revolt of the Puritans who want to purify the Anglican Church of any vestige of historic Christianity. The Puritans bring a differing economic revolution into the realm of the empire. The old laws against usury become less relevant, the peasants and landed gentry( who hadn’t been killed in King Henry’s time) are unable to keep up with the new bourgeois system of the towns. Cromwell brings back the Jews under his dictatorship. The Stuarts resist and try to restore some vestige of Christian tradition to the realm but fail.
    4.) The Puritans and the Stuart Royalists and Recusant Catholics all settle in different places in the United States at varying times of persecution. The Puritans in the North. The Royalists and Recusant Catholics in the South. Already, one can understand the future Civil War based on these incredibly hostile camps, a point not emphasized enough in our history.
    5.) The third revolution, the flourishing of all sorts of varying denominations and their prototypes in the new North American colonies. Amish, quakers, shakers, Baptists, and many more. Eventually leading to many bizarre cults as time goes on.

    So it is clear from this short timeline of the fracturing of the united medieval Church how the United States became a place of many religious types, eventually culminating in the Second Great Awakening’s refutation of denominationalism. Today, there are thousands and we don’t even need to touch on all the formerly prohibited religions that are now permitted in the United States

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