By Philip Jenkins (auth.)
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Extra resources for A History of the United States
EUROPEAN SETTLEMENT, 1492-1765 35 THE GREAT AWAKENING The various denominations were all affected to a greater or lesser degree by a religious revolution that swept the colonies from the late 1730s: the 'Great Awakening'. This was by no means a purely American event, but distinctly American circumstances did create the necessary preconditions, specifically the ambiguous state in which the descendants of the New England Puritans found themselves. Originally the 'gathered saints' had found it relatively easy to identify likely members, who were then subjected to intense questioning in order to prove the authenticity of their conversion.
The initial prospectus announced plans for a subtropical plantation to grow 'sugar cane, oranges, lemons, almonds and aniseed'. None of these proved successful, and 12 A HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES conditions only changed for the better in 1612 with the introduction of tobacco. Smoking became an enormously popular fad in England and western Europe, and the fortunes of Virginia boomed. So did those of the other Chesapeake Bay colony: Maryland, founded in 1632 as a proprietorship for Cecilius Calvert (Lord Baltimore) with the goal of creating a refuge for persecuted English Catholics.
The Puritan settlement of New England was a result of the dissatisfaction of some clergy and laity with the adequacy of the reform of the Church of England under Queen Elizabeth I, and by the survival of what they perceived as popish practices. English Puritans had initially engaged in a political struggle to control the national church with a view towards enforcing their own opinions, but by the end of the sixteenth century it had become apparent that this would not be possible, and that further agitation would meet severe repression.
A History of the United States by Philip Jenkins (auth.)