The Urban Threshold and the Second Great Awakening: Revivalism in New York State, 1825–1835

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Generally regarded as a rural phenomenon, the spread of religious revivalism in the Second Great Awakening may have also been associated with urbanization and early industrialism. This report of a secondary analysis of data originally collected by John Hammond ( The Politics of Benevolence[1979]) provides support for the urban argument. Ordinary least-squares and Poisson regression analyses of the incidence of revivalism indicate that revivalism is associated with population size, township manufacturing, location in agricultural counties, and proximity to other towns experiencing revivals. Among urban places and manufacturing towns, the highest levels of revivalism are found in New York's western region. However, the results also uncover a strand of revivalism in the rural northern part of the state that cannot be reduced to the principal variables. The significance of these findings for the study of the Second Great Awakening and American evangelicalism broadly is highlighted.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Social SciencesSouthern Wesleyan University

Publication date: December 1, 2010

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