" Drawing upon the religious writings of southern evangelicals,
John Boles asserts that the extraordinary crowds and miraculous
transformations that distinguished the South's First Great
Awakening were not simply instances of emotional excess but the
expression of widespread and complex attitudes toward God.
Converted southerners were starkly individualistic, interested more
in gaining personal salvation in a hopelessly evil world than in
improving society. As Boles shows in this landmark study, the
effect of the Revival was to throw over the region a conservative
cast that remains dominant in contemporary southern thought and
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