City Upon A Hill: Modern Idealism

Although Winthrop’s sermon discusses the laws of an idealized community for Puritans, we still currently hold idealistic views of our society today. Before the Donald Trump election, we were all convinced that racism was no longer prominent in America. We thought that it was only relevant in the past and we had since moved on from it. Now, we voice our opinions and beliefs for police brutality, women’s Inequality, immigration, etc. We learn to become leaders in our communities to provoke change and uphold our human rights. Winthrop was doing the same. Winthrop ambitiously wanted to set an example of how a community should behave, interact and live in harmony with one another in order to find love and acceptance. Although we don’t have to view “City upon a Hill” simply in a religious sense, we could view it as a political, social or cultural movement. We strive to build a community of equality, justice, love, and unity. Although America wasn’t established during that time yet, we still view the same piece of land that Winthrop and the other Puritans arrive to as a place of opportunity for people to escape to from the violence in their country, gain more opportunities or make a better living.

One of the quotes Winthrop uses to demonstrate that we should worked as one and learn to sympathize with one another is when he says, “If one member suffers, all suffer with it; if one be in honor, all rejoice with it.” Winthrop demonstrates the ideal of being united as one and sharing each other’s pain and suffering as well as happiness creates a unity between rich and poor. Many times we have heard this praised in a different ways. For example, Obama similarly says, “United we stand and divided we fall.”

Winthrop’s use of his metaphor a “city upon a hill’ does portray to us American exceptionalism. Winthrop delivered the speech as the Puritans set sail on the Arabella after being forced to leave England. Winthrop wanted to establish “city upon a hill” set the example for other countries to accept Puritanism. The Puritans broke away from the ruling of Charles I and colonized America in order to preserve their roots and establish a community where they had the freedom to uphold their religious beliefs. Although the circumstances were different, Winthrop expresses faith in American exceptionalism through breaking away and following his own ideologies.

-Ana Diaz-Galvan



One thought on “City Upon A Hill: Modern Idealism

  1. I think the most original part of this post is its focus on american exceptionalism as it still stands today. I think as an improvement you might quantify Trump’s effect. What does he really represent? Can you provide evidence? Is that even relevant to this blog?


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