In this lesson, students study the Great Awakening and one of its most notable preachers, George Whitefield, in an effort to answer the central historical question: Why was George Whitefield so popular? After viewing an online film clip and a brief PowerPoint to establish context for the Great Awakening and some of its "superstar" preachers, students are presented with three primary sources regarding Whitefield:
a long-after-the-fact anecdote by Benjamin Franklin,
a contemporary (but undated) account by a born-again Whitefield follower Nathan Cole, and
a hostile and dismissive letter by a rival preacher, Nathanael Henchman.
For each, students answer sourcing and contextualization questions and formulate a hypothesis as to Whitefield's popularity. A culminating class discussion addresses the central question.