3 Crucial Facts Every  American Should Know About 1776

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On July 4, America celebrated its 248th birthday. Many are wondering if the nation can survive the current political, economic, cultural and moral crises that presently envelop our land. Below are three important facts about America that this generation desperately needs to know—facts that can carry us through the current crises.

Fact No. 1: America was birthed out of a great spiritual awakening. When George Whitefield, the most famous preacher of the Great Awakening, came to America to preach the gospel for the first time in 1738, his prayer was that the American colonists would “no longer live as 13 divided colonies but as one nation under God.”

His incessant travels up and down the eastern seaboard, with thousands coming out to hear him preach in the open air, played a vital role in seeing his prayer answered.  Denominational, cultural and racial walls were breached, and for the first time, the crowds began to see themselves as a single people with one divine destiny.

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In this First Great Awakening, which began in 1726, entire towns were transformed throughout the East Coast. So great was the change that a British-appointed governor wrote to his superiors in England, “If you ask an American who is his master, he will tell you he has none, nor any governor but Jesus Christ.”

These facts led the late historian and Harvard professor Perry Miller to declare, “The Declaration of Independence of 1776 was a direct result of the preaching of the evangelists of the Great Awakening.”

Fact No. 2: America’s founders were not racists. Out of the Great Awakening, an anti-slavery movement was ignited that led to virtually every Founding Father, including those who owned slaves, taking a public stand against it. George Washington declared, “There is not a man living who wishes more than I do to see a plan adopted for the abolition of slavery.”

The Declaration of Independence, with its colorblind language and statement that “all men are created equal and are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights,” was understood by the founding generation to be a statement against slavery.

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Indeed, abolitionists used both the Declaration of Independence and the U.S.  Constitution, which came 11 years later, as weapons in the fight against slavery. Because the founders took this stand at a time when slavery was accepted and practiced in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and most of the world, Frederick Douglass would declare, “Fellow Citizens, I am not wanting in respect for the fathers of this republic. The signers of the Declaration of Independence were brave men. They were great men too—great enough to give fame to a great age. It does not often happen to a nation to raise, at one time, such a number of truly great men.”

Fact No. 3: America has been sustained by national spiritual awakenings. By the dawn of the 19th century, a generation had arisen that knew little of the Great Awakening of the previous century that had given birth to the nation. Spiritual indifference, immorality and agnosticism seemed to pervade the land, prompting many churches to designate days and seasons for prayer and fasting for another “revival of religion.”

In response to their prayers, another Great Awakening rolled across the land like a giant tsunami wave.  Peter Cartwright (1785-1872), the circuit-riding Methodist revivalist of the era, said, “The work went on and spread almost in every direction gathering additional force till our country seemed all coming to God.” Noted historian Dr. Mark A. Knoll called it “The most influential revival of Christianity in the history of the United States.”

There was also a Third Great Awakening that brought the nation through its most trying time—a horrible Civil War. In my book “America’s Revival Heritage, Second Edition,” I document what I believe was a Fourth Great Awakening that sustained the nation through another perilous time in its history.

The Conclusion of the Matter

Yes, in the nation’s most critical moments, America has been sustained by heaven-sent spiritual awakenings. It would seem, therefore, that revival is in our national DNA. Knowing this adds confidence to our prayers that God will send another Great Awakening that will sweep across the land and save the U.S. from this present critical and dangerous moment in which we find ourselves.

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Dr. Eddie Hyatt has over 50 years of ministry experience as a revivalist, pastor and professor of theology. He is on a mission, along with many others, to “save America” by pointing the nation back to her founding principles and praying for another Great Awakening to sweep across the land. His numerous books are available from Amazon and his website at http://eddiehyatt.com.

This article is derived from his books, “1726: The Year that Defined America” and “America’s Revival Heritage, Second Edition, available from Amazon and his website at http://eddiehyatt.com.

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