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Winthrop's arrival in the New World to practice religion based on his view of society

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The Puritan Community a “A City Upon a Hill”

During the 16th century while other English settlers came over to the New World, with them was a new group of people named the Puritans. The Puritan community came over to build a new life and colony for themselves in which they called the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Led by John Winthrop the Puritans followed in what he said in order to make a new and perfect society and life for themselves. (Winthrop 24). Winthrop’s idea of his perfect society is something he called a ‘City Upon a Hill” (Winthrop 24). When coming over to this New Colony from England they saw it as an opportunity to venture off and find something they can be proud of with implementing the values that they be believed in. (Winthrop 24) For them it was a new life where they would be able to practice their own religion and that was the real reason for coming over to the New World. This community, which was different than anything that had been seen came to the new world with changing views and were not always very expected and they truly brought tension to the new world.

This new society became a community that John Winthrop described as a “City Upon a Hill” The Puritan society believed that they had a special convent with God in which they were supported to create a new community to heal and save the chaos¬¬ that was happening in the new world at the same time” (Winthrop 24). The statement of a “City Upon a Hill” had a pressure put on it and John Winthrop intended to make it clear that they were the best and lived the best way of life. This concept was created so that everyone else in the world would watch this “city” and learn to emulate as best as they could” (Winthrop 24). His beliefs in calling it a “City Upon a Hill” is that so everyone could watch as they did things and that everyone would that was the best way to live life. Anyone who disagreed with this thinking of life, in Gods eyes were wrong and deemed to be not worthy and they were not allowed to speak to (MGA 238).

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The Puritan community was shaped in a very specific way, in which they believed that God knew everything and the way they lived was because that was the way he wanted them to. The community was based on the idea that God made this new society not for the individual in the community but for the entire community as a whole (Winthrop 24). With this thinking in mind, the community was shaped as a brotherhood and helping others and brotherly love was the most important thing to do aside from practicing religion (Winthrop 24). Instead of everyone having freedom to be themselves, the idea was that community took precedence over an individual freedom and since any transgressions against the world of God would bring punishment to the whole group so it was all about conformity to each other and keeping a strong bond with God to make the community look great to not only those around but also to God himself (Winthrop 24). In the eyes of the Puritan community at the beginning of their settlement, it was all about loving each other and following the world of go and what he believed to be true as a whole.

Once the Puritans became comfortable with what was going on in their everyday lives, things began to go airy from what early settlers first believed. In the 17th century, numerous leaders of the community began to start the idea of a social problem that they called “declension “(MGA 234). It was created because there were more and more New England inhabitants coming over to the new world and joining the Puritan community without believing in what they believed in (MGA 234). The start of declension causes a lot of issues between the Puritans and the neighboring Native Americans. The biggest issue that really started the beginning of the two of them having a bad relationship was King Phillips War (MGA 234). King Philips War, which to many seemed to be a punishment from God for the violation of the covenant, was very deadly not only to the Native Americans they were fighting but also to the Puritan community as a whole (MGA 234). Once the war ended, many felt that it was time for some change in the community and the courts decided to come up with new laws so that this sort of thing would not happen again (MGA 234). This is not the first time though that community had heard of something like this to come. In the beginning of settlement, John Winthrop built a fear into the original idea of “City Upon a Hill “and warned early settlers that if they did not follow the plan of God something like this was warranted to happen (MGA 234). Through the new laws created by the court, one big one that showed how the new relationship of the puritans and the Native Americans were going to be is the law that states, that all trading in homes with the Native Americans has to stop and the only trading that is allowed to be done is in towns and shops with other people present to watch the exchange happen. This was a big change and it law being implemented showed that the Puritans did not trust the Native Americans anymore and didn’t believe things could ever be worked out with them. After all that had happened, the relationship between the Puritans and Native Americans where once good have progressed into a good one had then failed and was no longer worth the crime that it had now was to bring.

A “City Upon a Hill” an idea that was said to be all of God’s doing was something that turned the New World Upside down. The Puritan lifestyle was different from anything seen before and their beliefs were not always what everyone believed. John Winthrop and his community believed that they were sent by God to create something new in the world to end the tension happening and for that reason that is what they did. The Puritan world may have not been the right one for everyone but they believed it was the right one for them.


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