City upon a Hill

While sailing aboard the Arabella en route to Massachusetts, Winthrop delivered a sermon entitled A Modell of Christian Charity, in which he informed his followers that they would be creating a City upon a Hill. Boston would be a close-knit community. The settlers, most of whom came from England’s middle classes and migrated with their families, would have their own homes and gardens, and access to surrounding fields to grow crops and graze cattle. The more wealthy and prominent of Winthrop’s followers would have larger enclaves in the surrounding wilderness, but the city would be the center of the community. It would be the seat of the church and of government, and it would be a place where settlers would take refuge from outside attack. Winthrop declared that Boston would be a city of God. Settlers would serve God in all ways, and a meetinghouse where God’s word could be heard would be the center of life in Boston. Settlers would also serve each other in accordance with God’s wishes. Winthrop recognized the social and economic inequities that existed in society, but he hoped his followers would work to overcome them. He urged his congregation to share supplies and produce and to temper their commerce with mercy. According to Winthrop, the settlers had entered into a covenant with God when they placed themselves under his protection, both on the voyage to Massachusetts and in their new community, and they subsequently agreed to live in a godly fashion. Winthrop considered England a sinfull lande and dreamed of creating a better society in Boston where the so-called natural leaders wealthy gentlemen would rule in the best interest of the people, and the people would accept the government of their leaders. Founded as a city of God, Boston became the heart of a thriving maritime economy, a center of higher learning, and the crucible of an independent secular nation. Town hall is the subject of this mid-seventeenth-century engraving. (Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris, France/Lauros/Giraudon/Bridgeman Art Library) Unfortunately for Winthrop, his dream of creating a city upon a hill was not shared by all of his followers. Englishmen arriving in Boston in 1630 and in the years that followed learned quickly of the tremendous opportunity for individual profit available in the New World. Almost immediately, the acquisitive instincts of English settlers overwhelmed Winthrop’s communal vision, and conflicting ideas fragmented the united society he sought to create. Whose City? Which Hill? The American Conservative 1.pptx on emaze PRIVATE XUNANTUNICH–THE MAYAN CITY UPON A HILL BELIZE …

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