Jonathan Edwards: APUSH Topics to Study for Test Day

Jonathan Edwards APUSH

As you review the Great Awakening for the exam, don’t forget to think about Jonathan Edwards APUSH topics. Here are some things that you should know about this “New Light” preacher for the exam:

Who Is Jonathan Edwards?

Jonathan Edwards lived during the Great Awakening. He graduated from Yale when he was 17 years old. Then, he served as a Congregationalist Protestant preacher and missionary to the Native Americans.

Jonathan Edwards is known as one of the most famous theologians. His most famous sermon is “Sinners In the Hands of an Angry God.” This sermon discussed topics of sin, hell, and eternal torment. As a result, this and other sermons he delivered helped reignite religious fervor in New England.


Birth: October 5, 1703
Death: March 22, 1758

Why Is He Important?

Jonathan Edwards was one of the central figures in the Great Awakening. Also, he’s one of the most famous philosophical theologians of all time.

Important People and Events

  • George Whitefield – George Whitefield was another preacher during the Great Awakening. He’s considered the founder of the “New Light” movement. Furthermore, he spoke of love and forgiveness and focused on individual salvation and bringing greater emotion to religious devotion. In fact, it’s been said that Jonathan Edwards was moved to tears by one of his sermons.
  • “Sinners In the Hands of an Angry God” – This is the sermon delivered by Jonathan Edwards in 1741. He said that people would be lost without God’s grace. Also, he spoke about the awfulness of hell and eternal torment.
  • The Great Awakening – The Great Awakening occurred in the 1730’s and 1740’s. It brought the colonies together and renewed the colonists’ religious fervor.
  • APUSH Practice Question 1

    Which Congregationalist minister’s beliefs are exemplified through the following quote?

    O sinner! consider the fearful danger you are in! It is a great furnace of wrath, a wide and bottomless pit, full of the fire of wrath that you are held over in the hand of that God whose wrath is provoked and incensed as much against you as against many of the damned in hell. . .

    a. George Whitefield
    b. John Winthrop
    c. William Tennant
    d. Jonathan Edwards

    Answer: D. The answer was probably obvious based on the topic for this post. However, this question is very similar to one that has been asked on the exam before. The quote comes from Jonathan Edwards’ sermon, “Sinners In the Hands of an Angry God”.

    The quote mentions hell, fire, God’s wrath, and torment (i.e., the “bottomless pit”). Because of this, you should think that it’s probably a quote from Jonathan Edwards’ memorable sermon.

    APUSH Practice Question 2

    DBQ: Consider the causes of the Great Awakening in colonial America. How did the religious revival affect colonists?

    Answer: When discussing Jonathan Edwards in your answer, it would be important to discuss how colonists had lost their conviction. Many people were going through the motions for religion, but they weren’t passionate about their beliefs.

    Jonathan Edwards delivered sermons that taught people about the state of hell and torment should they fail to live their religion with conviction. Sermons like “Sinners In the Hands of an Angry God” reminded people of God’s grace and the importance of religious devotion.

    Practice writing an essay for the above question. Set a timer, and see what you can do in the given time. How did you do? Tell us about your response in the comments below.

    Improve your SAT or ACT score, guaranteed. Start your 1 Week Free Trial of Magoosh SAT Prep or your 1 Week Free Trial of Magoosh ACT Prep today!

    magoosh logo checks


    • Jamie Goodwin

      Jamie graduated from Brigham Young University- Idaho with a degree in English Education. She spent several years teaching and tutoring students at the elementary, high school, and college level. She currently works as a contract writer and curriculum developer for online education courses. In her free time, she enjoys running and spending time with her boys!

    By the way, Magoosh can help you study for both the SAT and ACT exams. Click here to learn more!

    No comments yet.

    Magoosh blog comment policy: To create the best experience for our readers, we will only approve comments that are relevant to the article, general enough to be helpful to other students, concise, and well-written! 😄 Due to the high volume of comments across all of our blogs, we cannot promise that all comments will receive responses from our instructors.

    We highly encourage students to help each other out and respond to other students' comments if you can!

    If you are a Premium Magoosh student and would like more personalized service from our instructors, you can use the Help tab on the Magoosh dashboard. Thanks!

    Leave a Reply