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At the start of the 17th century, an unprecedented amount of Puritan migrants begin moving to the New England colonial region because, in England, the reigning King Charles pushes Anglican religious practices onto Puritans. This, therefore, results in them experiencing intense religious persecution, which leads to the eventual desire of these individuals to escape to the new world and start anew. One important aspect of this new beginning with the intention of shaping the Massachusetts Bay was John Winthrop’s speech/sermon titled, “A Model of Christian Charity”. John Winthrop writes this speech with the intention of persuading those moving to the new colonies to live a very strict Puritan lifestyle and, therefore, set an example of what an ideally run colony should appear to be.
The author of this document, John Winthrop was born in Groton, England where he would soon grow to start his family and become a lawyer at the Court of Wards in London. Winthrop received his education primarily at Thetford Grammar School in Thetford, Norfolk, England. Winthrop, known as an active political philosopher and later as a political leader, was too soon to become the Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. As a very religious and strictly Puritan individual, Winthrop believed strongly in the idea that the Anglican Church and its catholic-oriented beliefs were in strong opposition to God’s wishes. He believed that because of this, God was to soon punish the people of the Anglican Church in England and that English Puritans were in dire need of an escape during this time. This, therefore, leads to Winthrop, along with other English Puritans holding firm to this belief, gathering together as a group and issuing a charter to the New World. This directly leads to the establishment of the Massachusetts Bay colony, built firmly upon the Puritan principles outlined in Winthrop’s “A Model of Christian Charity” speech given to these New World settlers.
This speech primarily serves as a reminder to those moving to this new colony that it should be built above all, upon Puritan beliefs and influences and that, if established this way, the colony “shall be a Citty upon a Hill”. This document serves to show that in order to achieve a City that serves as a shining example to all others, the people must not be united in only a political sense, but also socially and religiously. In this famous sermon, Winthrop claims that the people shall, “rejoyce together, mourne together, labour, and suffer together, allwayes haveing before our eyes our Commission and Community in the worke”. This shows that Winthrop believes in a strong and tightly bound Community and that this is the basis for a unified people in all other senses of a nation.
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