In his essay, “From the Covenant to the Revival”, Perry Miller suggested that after the Revolution America's traditional concept of the Covenant between Jehovah and His people gradually changed. No longer did a calamity bring abject self-debasement and pleas for mercy in the face of well-deserved punishment. No more would Americans look upon a crisis in their national affairs as an occasion for jeremiads, for confessing their sins and begging relief from the retribution they merited. Miller wrote,
A theology which for almost two centuries had assumed that men would persistently sin, and so would have to be recurrently summoned to communal repentance, had for the first time identified its basic conception with a specific political action. Then, for the first time in the lite of the conception, the cause was totally gained. Did not a startling inference follow: these people must have reformed themselves completely, must now dwell on a pinnacle of virtuousness?