LEARN NC was a program of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Education from 1997 – 2013. It provided lesson plans, professional development, and innovative web resources to support teachers, build community, and improve K-12 education in North Carolina. Learn NC is no longer supported by the School of Education – this is a historical archive of their website.

Methodist camp meeting, March 1, 1819

Detail from an illustration of a Methodist camp meeting, 1819. Engraving by unknown artist. About the illustration

In the first decades of the nineteenth century, the Second Great Awakening swept the United States, bringing new interest in religion and in social reform. Across the country, ministers held revivals, most often in the form of camp meetings. At these revivals, people experienced conversion and salvation in ways that were often quite dramatic. In the South, this period is sometimes called the “Great Revival.”

Both white and black North Carolinians experienced the Revival, but in different ways. In this chapter we’ll read the experiences of some men and women who participated in early nineteenth-century revivals, both as ministers and as converts, and we’ll explore the reasons for their participation and conversion and the impact their experiences had on their lives.