The Haugean movement took its name from the lay evangelist Hans Nielsen Hauge. It played an important part in nurturing the democratic folk movement of the time, and stimulating the entrance into politics of representatives of the rural population. It increased tensions between the more privileged classes and the common people, as well as between the clergy and the laity.
Hans Nielsen Hauge worked as a lay preacher at a time when such activity was forbidden by law. The Conventicle Act of 1741 prohibited any religious meetings not authorized by the state church: a response to radical Pietism within Norwegian cities. The act decreed that religious gatherings could be held only under the supervision of a state approved minister. The pastor was thought to be the only person who could correctly interpret the teachings of the Norwegian State Church. The ministers had the sole right to administer the sacraments, and as a public official he was accountable to the state for the Christian indoctrination of his flock.
Hauge came to feel that he had a divine call which made it mandatory for him to break this law and proclaim the word of God directly among his fellowmen. He advocated a Priesthood of all believers. He felt that people had to be awakened to a consciousness of their sins before they could begin to gain salvation through the grace of God. According to Hauge’s views, the State Church failed to provide parishioners with a personal religious experience. Hauge’s religious teachings were therefore viewed as attacks on the state church and its ministers.
The character Solveig in Henrik Ibsen's Peer Gynt is presented as a member of a Haugean family, and this religious affiliation is clearly related to her purity and steadfast love for the play's protagonist. Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson's "Synnøve Solbakken" also presents the heroine as a Haugean with similar purity and commitment to her eventual betrothed, Thorbjørn.
- Report of the Annual Meeting of the Haugean Churches Held at Lisbon, Illinois, in June, 1854, translated and edited by J. Magnus Rohne. Norwegian American Historic Association. Volume IV: Page 15
- Hans Nielsen Hauge (1771 - 1824): Lay evangelist and leader of a religious awakening in Norway Global Christianity, Luther Seminary
- From revolt to hegemony Tysvær Local History Book. Volume 9; Such as They Lived, Svein Ivar Langhelle, Tysvær kommune, Rogaland, Norway, 1997, translation by Rotraud Slogvik, 2002
- The Norwegian Immigrant and His Church, Eugene L.Fevold, Norwegian-American Historic Association. Volume 23: Page 3
- Hans Nielsen Hauge, Lay-Preacher And Social Reformer. Per Gjendem Historieportal
- Norwegian Emigration to America During the Nineteenth Century, Ingrid Gaustad Semmingsen, Norwegian-American Historic Association. Volume XI: Page 66
- Gjerde, S.S & Ljostveit, P. The Hauge Movement In America (The Hauge Inner Mission Federation. 1941)
- Eielsen, Sigrid. A Haugean Woman in America : the Autobiography of Sigrid Eielsen (Norwegian-American Historical Association. Northfield, Minn., vol. 35. 2000)
- Amundsen, Arne Bugge The Haugean Heritage – a Symbol of National History (from "In Search of Symbols. An Explorative Study" Jens Braarvig & Thomas Krogh,editors, pp. 214–233. Department of Cultural Studies, University of Oslo, 1997)