Awakenings in the Burned-Over District

New Light on the Historical Setting of the First Vision



The six decades preceding the Civil War were years of intense religious activity in many sections of the United States. During this second great awakening, sporadic spiritual quickenings erupted throughout the new nation; and many Americans living in the rugged frontier communities, in the rapidly growing urban areas, and in the villages and towns of northern and southern United States turned their attention to organized religion. One of the regions in the new nation that was in an almost constant state of revivalism was western New York. During the first half of the nineteenth century, revivals were so habitual and powerful in the area west of the Catskill and Adirondack Mountains that historians have labeled this ecclesiastical storm center the “Burned-over District.”


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