Critical essay on James Davenport and Charles Chauncey

Topics: Colony, Christianity, First Great Awakening Pages: 2 (504 words) Published: November 21, 2013

Out With the Old, In With the New

There were multiple factors that influenced the Great Awakening in the early seventeen hundreds. From 1730 to 1740, rebellion spread throughout the colonies causing a major religious warfare between churches. In Contending Voice, Hollitz shows us the perspective of two famous preachers that gave the Great Awakening a stir of madness. The “wild,” “indecent,” and work of “mad men” revolutionized the way colonist viewed how religion could be so intense frequently causing “Mayhem in the church” (Hollitz 34) (qtd Hollitz 42). The two leaders were utterly different with their take upon how the colonist should react toward their faith in God. Seen as the outspoken minister in the Great Awakening, James Davenport was in my opinion a hellraiser. Some may disagree about my decision, but there were distinct actions made by Davenport that couldn’t be passed up to not classify as clear “hellraiser” intentions. James had a mind set of reaching out of the “uninspired preaching” that should be portrayed through enthusiasm and emotion to express your inner touch with God (Hollitz 37). From being deported out of the colony and defined as “non compos mentis” James Davenport faced various challenges trying to promote his new style of praising the lord (Hollitz 42). He stopped at nothing to get colonists to convert to the way he preached and reacted to religion. As for Charles Chauncey, the “Old Brick” of the decade, was the complete opposite of his rival James Davenport (qtd Hollitz 37). Being as simplistic and conventional as Chauncy could, I labeled him as a trailblazer. As Hollitz points out, Chauncy was an uninspired preacher but was vaguely labeled as “Great Awakening’s most ferocious critic” (Hollitz 37). Chauncey’s perspective of religion was to never stray from the traditional zeal of god that has been around since the beginning. To Chauncey, Davenport’s actions caused a horrific flow of religion throughout the colonies. In Charles’...

Cited: Hollitz, John. "Enthisiasm, Authority, and the Great Awakening: James Davenport and Charles Chauncy." Contending Voices: Biographical Explorations of the American Past .3rd ed. Vol. I. Boston: Houghton, 2011. 34-50. Print.
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