of the day can chronicle the rise of talk not about this or that colony, or about His Majesty's colonies, but, for the first time broadly 'the American colonies' or the nation, where a returning Jesus would be expected and welcomed to guide and fulfil the destiny of citizens believing and working together.9
If, as many then believed, the fires of revival had been banked or slowed as the Awakening was gradually spent, this did not mean that people deserted the churches. It is true that a new passion came along to redirect some of the energies that had previously gone into church, now into nation. Some of the talent of the sons of colonials were turned from ministerial vocations in religion to politics and statecraft. Language once used to draw people to the Kingdom of God now got translated to the language that demanded loyalty and urged liberty. The churches did not empty because ofthe challenges ofwar-making and the attractiveness of nation-building, but many scholars believe that church life was at its lowest ebb to date at the time of the war. The Second Great Awakening and the revivals that followed it then attracted ever-growing numbers of converts and adherents through the nineteenth century. Majorities during the war had something else on their mind than being attentive to sermons and private prayer.
In a letter to Thomas Jefferson in 1815, John Adams, the second president of the United States, spelled out the terms of Revolution as he remembered it. The war, he contended, was not part of the Revolution; it was an effect and consequence of the Revolution. 'The Revolution was in the minds of the people, and this was effected, from 1760 to 1775, in the course of fifteen years before a drop of blood was shed at Lexington.'10 New religious forces were coming to the scene, and they had a bearing on the Revolution and its aftermath.
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