City upon a Hill: Religious vs. Political

In Winthrop’s time, the US was yet to be established. At that time the country could’ve been molded into anything in anyway. Whether a democracy, monarchy or dictatorship, this country and how it was going to be developed was going to put an impact around the world. John Winthrop refers to “City upon a Hill” religiously because he sees the new world as an opportunity to create a foundation of his Puritan faith and to spread it across. Religiously “City upon a Hill” infers to a community that follows their faith and ideals of God. Years later the phrase is reformed to politically symbolize the free nation filled with colored opportunities for its citizens.

The phrase holds the same meaning as it did in Winthrop’s time, because in the 21st century, every day we witness revolutionary ideas in technology, society, religion, etc. Although “the shining city” isn’t completely perfect and the concept of a free nation may be at risk in light of recent political happenings, we have come so far from what Winthrop would’ve have imagined as a Puritan. From Winthrop to Reagan to Obama, every time this phrase is used the world has advanced greatly since the last time it was used, becoming a “city on the hill” has led to American exceptionalism. Milton’s reference to the term is based on Greek mythology, however it imposes the same idea of power.

John Milton’s approach to the phrase is very liberal. Like it’s mentioned in Ronald Reagan’s farewell speech “if the city had walls, the walls had doors, and the doors were open to anyone who had the will and heart to open them”. Reagan and Milton allude to “the city” as a place where everyone believes in God and the economy is perfect. Whether used in a religious context or a political context, this phrase gives out the same theme every time, to introduce power.

-Ravneet Dhillon


One thought on “City upon a Hill: Religious vs. Political

  1. I think the most original part of this post was about how the US wasn’t really established and could have been anything. I think as an improvement I would like to see the similarities drawn between the US and the puritan new world.


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