Mary Was The Little Lamb

Throughout her narrative, Mary Rowlandson is faced with captivity, poor meals, and the multiple losses of loved family, friends, and her home. However, in her words, Mary did not seem to hate these “savages” as much as she claimed.

As mentioned before in Monday’s class, Mary uses an abundance of words that were more familiar with the indigenous people over the Englishmen. Such words include “squaw”, “sannup”, and “papoose”. By using these words, Mary shows the familiarity that she had grown when being held captive by the natives. She also mentions the abundance of kindness shown to her; however, she does not say this outright in the text. Instead, she mentions the actions directed towards her, mostly from older natives or squaws, as well as King Philip himself as he paid Mary in exchange for handcrafted clothes (The Eighth Remove), and gives her food and water for a bath (The Nineteenth Remove). There is obviously a strong connection for King Philip, as shown in the final Remove, when Philip was the only native who voted against sending Mary back to her husband. This action shows the growth between Mary, and English woman, and King Philip, an indigenous man. In some ways, this complicates the history of intolerance against indigenous people, because we see a strong sense of communication between Mary and the natives, despite her not wanting to admit it.

Although there was tension between her and some of the people, a majority of the time, it seemed as though Mary was never truly in danger, and always had someone there to support her, even though it wasn’t the support that she desperately wanted, which was the support and aid from a fellow Christian like herself. In the text, Mary if given a place to stay warm, food to fill her belly, and gets paid for her services. In a way, it seems as though Mary had slowly become a part of this indigenous group. While she was still considered an outsider and a slave to her mistress and master, Mary had been able to successfully combine herself into this lifestyle without too much hassle, which follows up with the claim that her interactions between the indigenous peoples and herself complicates history a bit, which shows the strong distaste between the groups. Mary does indeed voice her ideas of the natives to her audience; however, her actions go against her words, which makes me assume that Mary herself was unsure on how to proceed with the emotions that rose up for these people. I believe that she used God as her pawn, as a way to escape scrutiny from her fellow Englishmen by saying “It was God who lifted my spirits”, when in reality, Mary was fearful to show that she had grown somewhat attached to these indigenous people. Not attached in the way you may think, mind you, but in a way that may have Mary thinking back to a point in time with King Philip or one of the many natives that helped her when she needed it.

-Jody Omlin


A Colonial History of Violence

Mary Rowlandson was held captive for eleven weeks and five days after she and her three children were taken captive by a Wampanoag raiding party. The details of the brutality Rowlandson witnessed and at times endured give readers a look into the conflicting relationship between the colonists and the natives. Rowlandson’s interactions with the Algonquian people complicate and contradict the history of intolerance against native people during the English colonization period. Though Rowlandson initially endures brutality and suffers the loss of her baby, the development of her writing gives the natives a sort of humanistic perspective that early writers did not give before. For example, when Rowlandson is taken to meet with King Philip, she begins to weep and when a native asked her why she cried, she said that the natives would kill her. To this, the native responded no and that “None [would] hurt [her].” Furthermore, one of the natives “gave [her] two spoonfuls of meal to comfort [her]” while another “gave [her] half a pint of peas”, which according to Rowlandson, “was more worth than many bushels at another time”. This contradicts the idea that natives only inflicted violence upon settlers. In this scene, the natives display an act of kindness during a time when Rowlandson showed vulnerability and sadness. When Rowlandson meets with King Philip, he offers her a smoke of his tobacco pipe as a compliment and though she speaks about how sinful smoking was, she never explicitly states whether or not she accepted to smoke. In the ninth remove, Rowlandson learns that her son is less than a mile from her and when she asks for permission to go and see him, they allow her to do so. The simple and seemingly meaningless acts of kindness contradict the ideas that both people were completely intolerant of one another.  In a close-up view, the threats Rowlandson faced and the deaths she witnessed in Lancaster may cause readers to have sympathy for her. However, by looking at the situation from a historical, outside, and educated perspective, the deaths that happened in Lancaster and the threats Rowlandson faced do not evoke much sympathy. The conflict that led up to the actions taken by the Algonquian people were a consequence of the white immigrant colonists’ constant invasion on native lands (a consequence of their own actions and example of hypocrisy). When taking into the consideration the years of violence and constant dehumanization natives faced, one small raiding party and the death of some white colonists does not measure up to the hundreds of native people and children brutally murdered. Rowlandson’s writing does confirm the violence that existed between natives and English people, but only to a certain extent. Many of the threats Rowlandson faced were words and actual brutality was not commonly placed upon her. Her writing complicates history because the natives did not invade the small town just to inflict violence. They acted upon violence to capture the wife of a minister and to defend themselves against the constant white invasion. Perhaps Rowlandson restrained herself from including more details in order to protect her Puritan chastity, but the small details actually mentioned and the inclusion of native words only support the idea that she actually formed some type of unspoken bond with her captors.

-Maria G. Perez


I was walking around my beautiful streets looking at the greatness God provided for us, the palm trees, the alleys covered in graffiti. This night the whole block was going to have a barbecue. My whole block being my brother, his kids and a couple of other neighbors I grew up with. We had everything ready, the grill was sizzling with the crispy ribs. We had been planning this barbecue for quite a while, we had all been so busy working with not even a Sunday off. We were all sitting in our back-yard eating, catching up on all that we’ve missed. It was an amazing moment being surrounded by the people you love, watching the sun set, and seeing everyone’s smile. It quickly came to an end when the white Porsche drove into our alley, something we don’t see every day. The night only got stranger when four white men came out the car and started shooting. I saw them shoot my brother in the leg as he ran over to protect his kids. My brother had to witness his three-year-old daughter get shot. He crawled his way over to his little girl as she was bleeding from her abdomen. Tears running down all our faces, praying to God we would all be okay. There was so much confusion in the air, none of us understood what was going on. We didn’t know these men, we had done nothing to them. I was hiding under the table sitting still in shock only praying to god that nobody else would get hurt. Suddenly, I was grabbed from my legs and dragged into the car by two men while the other ones stood watch. I was shoved into the back seat of the car, I couldn’t understand why in God’s name they would do something as barbaric as shooting a three-year-old child. The shooting ended and the found men entered the car and drove away. These group of men had the audacity to hand me a glass of champagne, I was forced to drink it after refusing it. I kept asking them their reason behind all their actions and they just kept repeating “We’re helping you!”. We drove into a gated community in the Hollywood Hills and approached a mansion. They ordered me to get out the car and placed a crown on my head. The kept repeated “We saved you!”, I still didn’t understand what was happening but just prayed to God they would let me go soon. They lead me into the obnoxiously huge dining room, the kind you see in movies. They sat me down at the end of the table. They had the strangest set up, they had three spoon, two forks, and two knives, all in different sizes. They were forcing me to eat the lobster and Crème brûlée, their food was so strange but they insisted I needed to eat it. I was thinking of the things my family must be doing to find me knowing God will help me home.



For the creative writing assignment, I wanted to make a parody of Mary Rowlandson’s captivity narrative. When originally thinking of ways to create the narrative I wanted to use the same approach of a white woman going into a different environment and making it relevant to today’s time. However, I wanted to add a comedic approach by switching the roles. I decided to make the narrator an unwealthy male being taken into the different environment of the rich Hollywood Hills. There were many elements used by Rowlandson that I wanted to incorporate into my creative assignment such as imagery and over dramatization. I wanted to provide imagery to set the environment, I attempted to do this with limited space by describing what was surrounding. I emphasized olfactory imagery in “the grill was sizzling with the crispy ribs” to help build the environment. Rowlandson used over dramatization in her description of when she was given water is the moment that stood out to me the most. I wanted to recreate this moment and use this same dramatization in my work creating the moment the narrator is given the champagne. Another big aspect of my work was to create this same theme of God. Rowlandson used God to justify everything that was happing to her. I decided to emphasis this theme as well because I believe today this is still something that resonates with many people. Although my approach to this narrative was a comedic one I still wanted to emphasis some serious topics. In particular I wanted to emphasis the disconnect there still is within certain groups. I decided not to give the narrator a race so the reader can almost put themselves in his shoes but emphasizing the disconnect any minority feel with the upper class.

-Alondra Morales Aguilar

Not About Genocide

Rowlandson’s captivity narrative is by no means an exemplification of suffrage through genocide. Neither is it an attempt to justify the actions acted by the English colonists upon the indigenous people. She portrays an unrealistic reaction to the dreadful event, showing no signs of fear despite the loss of loved ones and being separated from the rest of her people. The language she uses suggests her lack of remorse as she is traveling with her captors, looking up to God for savior with hope as strong as ever. In an event like this, the natural response is fear of death and yet, Rowlandson remains calm unlike the fear the ingenious people showed when they were massacred and their land were taken over by the English men. This makes Rowlandson’s narrative difficult to read and to sympathize for her. The repetitiveness of “wonderful goodness of God…” and other variations of that phrase, became a little annoying in all honesty. To say that after witnessing something gruesome makes me question what Rowlandson was really trying to say.

Perhaps, her narrative was an act of spreading God’s words, spreading Christianity, and her excessive use of biblical references prove so. In the fourth remove, she witnesses her land stripped down to the little details as they had done to the indigenous people. Instead of showing anger, frustration or fear, she is optimistic. It is hard for anyone to remain that optimistic as a human but she does so through Christ. God became an overarching theme to show his powers. The idea of faith is risen. I admire her optimism through her crisis, but her narrative becomes frustrating as it progresses. It is clear to the readers that she was a strong believer in Christ, but referencing the bible in almost every remove leaves no room to express real feelings which the readers look for in order to sympathize for her. I may have been a lot more moved by the narrative without the abundance of biblical references.

Her captivity is her punishment for the sin she and her people committed and her actions suggests she is accepting that fact. This follows John Locke’s idea that “if anyone may punish someone for something bad that he has done, then everyone may do so. . .” Rowlandson implicitly claims it is okay for her and her people to be taken captive for their sins. She, at times, refer to her captors as human beings making it clear that she understands they are their own individual people. I believe no form of torture, evil, or death is ever good, whether for the sake of killing or revenge. The English colonization was bad but that was in the past, and although with the impact it has had in our history, it does not make it just for the roles to be reversed as an act of revenge. The Indians are essentially committing the same crime, and by Locke’s words that they may be punished for the bad they have done, it becomes an endless cycle. The only way to stop it is literally to just stop.

-Van Vang

White Woman Has a Terrible Time (still not as bad as genocide)

Mary Rowlandson’s life story does not complicate the history of intolerance and genocide central to colonization. Although many people express feelings of sympathy towards Rowlandson in her narrative, I feel that in the grand scheme of history, I do not sympathize with her. In relation to Thomas’ post I full heartedly agree that there was a complete “disregard for ethics”, despite the puritan’s idea that they were the epitome of goodness in the world (the brink of complete genocide isn’t exactly good no matter what god it’s for). Almost reminds me of a group of religious people that are supposed to love their neighbor, but let people in war-struck countries to die?

Anyway, According to John Locke’s ideas slavery meant being submitted to a government without consent. This brings into question whether Rowlandson was truly a “slave” when she was kidnaped. Again, it appears that she was, but once we put into context that the puritans consented to this violence by coming to land that wasn’t and never would be truly there’s, it doesn’t appear so. Locke believed that in any government there were freedoms to be sacrificed to a government in exchange for other things. Perhaps, the sacrifice here was the loss of complete utmost security, in exchange for stolen land.

Although Rowland does adapt the terms of family from Native Americans, I don’t think she can even comprehend that they are people, since they don’t believe in the same invisible guy! (oh and also they’re not white!) It almost appears as appropriation because people finally look at native american vernacular with an endearing sense because a white woman wrote them. Finally, they show the virtue of family. Before they were just words from wretched “demons”.  But if a white woman can use them maybe they aren’t so bad.

Many people had expressed that they sympathized with Rowlandson because of her children, but we must consider that Rowlandson was almost using her children as a “you-owe-me” to God. When her sister dies she wishes that:”she is reaping the fruit of her good labors, being faithful to the service of God in her place.”. Rowlandson takes her sister’s life with a grain of salt if it means she is being rewarded for a virtuous life. It’s almost as if she isn’t really mourning.

Also, Rowlandson already held American ideals before America was even a thing. She exploited an experience, and completely made things even more terrible for people of color!

-Beyanira Bautista

“I love the name of honor, more than i fear death”

John Dryden’s Indian Emperour (1667), the author throughout the play focuses on themes of love versus honor, private interests versus the public good, and the motivation behind the character’s actions, but at the ending never explicitly states whether Cydaria and Hernan Cortez are united in matrimony. I personally believe Dryden’s purpose in doing so is to perpetuate the heroic thematic devices utilized in the play. By not explicitly addressing whether or not Cortez and Cydaria marry, the audience is then focused on the ramifications of the series of events that have just transpired in the play.Firstly, it is important to note the power that the woman have in this play. In every major scene there is a woman helping to guide the man, for example, when Guyomar is bargaining for Alibechs life and right to marry she actually says no matter what people say she isn’t an object and chooses who she shall marry. That is important to the ending of the play because it demonstrates the power of the woman’s right to choose and not be seen as an object. Had they been married at the end of the play, it would thus be a happy romance play that didn’t make the audience see the bigger picture of what Dryden was aiming to get at. Not only in the play is the power of the woman seen, but in the actuality of making the play as well. Cydaria in the play was being performed by the kings mistress (supposedly), the notion of a mistress playing such a key role and marrying someone of power doesn’t necessarily demonstrate the anxieties of the foreign imperialist and the aztec people, but the anxieties of what the modern times had come to. Dryden utilized every character and action in the play to criticize what the current society had come to, such as when Montezuma is portrayed literally like christ and even says ‘oh father’.  Had Cydaria and Cortez actually married on this stage where the nobility were present and watching it would have sent drastic ramifications to the audience that I don’t think Dryden was prepared for. He utilized the Spanish imperialism to talk about English imperialism but did it in such a way so that it was more acceptable to talk about just like the role of Cydaria, which was supposedly also written for the mistress intentionally.  By not mentioning the unity of Cortes and Cyndaria, the audience is now left to speculate and rethink the events that have just transpired instead of focusing on a happy ending. A king rather than give up his power for peace has just committed suicide after defeat, a brother betrayed his land due to unrequited love, and a woman loyal to her country has now just committed suicide rather than betray her beliefs. Each individual story intertwined in the play definitely focuses on the theme of love for something but duty to another which also centers back to the time period  of publication. During this time period it was lustful and full of partying, the playhouses were also somewhat of a brothel in a sense. Class has slipped and with the slip of class so too had the idea of love and honor. Morals were diminishing during the restoration period as people were accustomed to having mistresses and cheating on their spouses. By keeping this theme of love and duty it attempts to demonstrate the rightness of following through with you’re love and loyalty to the country. In a sense the main winner of the play was cortez and he too stayed loyal to his love, for example when he let Guyomar go to please Cydaria, but also with Duty when he still took down the native empire although he himself admits that the orders he has received may not be right and he was also going against his lover by essentially destroying her country. The other people in the play such as Montezuma for example did not stay loyal to his people, instead of listening to the spirits that told him he would loose he choose his pride over his country and lost it all including his life. Each character would die for their love or for their duty to their country even when there was other logical paths they could have taken. I think Dryden really aims to question the foundation of blind loyalty to a country and the selfish nature of listening to your heart in respects to the good of the majority. The evidence of this claim is in the ending of the play, throughout the entire play Cortes remained loyal to his country and still went to war all the while honoring his love for Cyndaria for example letting Guyomar go, and stayed true to both sides of duty and honor and he came out the best. The others either gave into blind faith to oders or their own personal love and they all perished. Cortes will have his name go down in history as the conquer of the Aztecs and the rest won’t. So no Dryden did not mention the marriage of Cortes and Cynadaria not due to his doubts of their unity but because it would dimmish the power Cynadaria and the women in the play have ever so subtly developed, but also because what Dryden was inferring by having a mistress play her role would not be scandalous for the audience and society.



A City upon Intolerance and Genocide

First and foremost, John Winthrop’s “City upon a Hill” absolutely does not carry the same context if it was used in speech today, and we can be thankful for this. I for one am certainly glad that we have overall improved our approach on human ethics to ascend beyond such an abysmal level of religious intolerance, gender inequality, and an acceptance of genocide.  The references to this model state in modern times refer to a sociopolitical transformed term. Rather than the primary focus of religion, “City upon a Hill” has become a model to represent democracy and a right to freedom for countries across the world. The reference to the term appeals to the general ignorance of the American public, where a “City upon a Hill” can be imagined as glorious and almighty, but was originally a fanatic’s fantasy of religious superiority and human inequality.


Anne Hutchinson, who lived during Winthrop’s time, believed that it was unnecessary to strictly adhere to the guidelines of the Christian institution as she encouraged looking to one’s own intuition to find salvation, as God lived inward amongst the souls of each and other, rather than through every day practice. In “The Humble Request” we learn how devout and intolerant the Puritans could be, “The Puritans exalted preaching; they taxed themselves voluntarily to secure additional preaching on market days by evangelical clergymen, who were called lecturers.” She was met with fierce opposition from the colony’s ministers, and was directly accused by John Winthrop of troubling the peace of the churches. Winthrop described her as a demonic extremist in his journals,  “hell-spawned agent of destructive anarchy”. Remaining confident with the belief that God remained within her, she countered Winthrop’s accusations intelligently over days of trial, but she would cement her fate as her character showed eminently whilst addressing the court in an impassioned outcry, “You have no power over my body, neither can you do me any harm…Therefore take heed how you proceed against me—for I know that, for this you go about to do to me, God will ruin you and your posterity and this whole state.” Hutchinson was shattering Christian ideals while paving the way for religious interpretation and women’s representation alike. Ultimately she and her family were banished from the Massachusetts “City upon a Hill”, to New Netherlands and were later murdered in a Native American raid (likely a retaliation of colonist aggression in the “Kiefts War”). New Netherlands (New York and New Jersey today) was a colony of considerable diversity, and its inhabitants carried a significant amount of war experience from Europe. The most gruesome interactions between Natives and colonists in all of U.S. history probably occurred in this region between the Dutch and Algonquian peoples. “(Native) Infants were torn from their mother’s breasts, and hacked to pieces in the presence of their parents, and pieces thrown into the fire and in the water, and other sucklings, being bound to small boards, were cut, stuck, and pierced, and miserably massacred in a manner to move a heart of stone. Some were thrown into the river, and when the fathers and mothers endeavored to save them, the soldiers would not let them come on land but made both parents and children drown…”. New Netherlands was a religiously tolerant society however, and the blood-rage in many of their souls was a result of the blindness of conquest, as well as the influence of atrocities that the Massachusetts colony had committed previously. Their overall view of the Natives never fully reached the dreadful dehumanizing extent of pure genocidal intent; that the religion-imbued fanatics located on John Winthrop’s “City upon a Hill” were consumed by.

The most gruesome interactions between Natives and colonists in all of U.S. history probably occurred in this region between the Dutch and Algonquian peoples. “(Native) Infants were torn from their mother’s breasts, and hacked to pieces in the presence of their parents, and pieces thrown into the fire and in the water, and other sucklings, being bound to small boards, were cut, stuck, and pierced, and miserably massacred in a manner to move a heart of stone. Some were thrown into the river, and when the fathers and mothers endeavored to save them, the soldiers would not let them come on land but made both parents and children drown…”. New Netherlands was a religiously tolerant society however, and the blood-rage in many of their souls was a result of the blindness of conquest, as well as the influence of atrocities that the Massachusetts colony had committed previously. Their overall view of the Natives never fully reached the dreadful dehumanizing extent of pure genocidal intent; that the religion-imbued fanatics located on John Winthrop’s “City upon a Hill” were consumed by.

Of all the savage bloodshed between the natives and the colonists before the revolution, some of the most horrific occurrences took place by the so-called “City upon a Hill”. In perhaps the most inhumane incident of all colonist and native exchanges, a Pequot fort containing 500 men, women, and children, was encircled by troops and incinerated. Only a handful managed to escape. The captain of the forces John Mason insisted that the attack was an act of God who “laughed his Enemies and the Enemies of his People to scorn making [the Pequot fort] as a fiery Oven.” Even the Narragansett and Mohegan, the Native American allies of the English forces and also fierce enemies of the Pequot, were horrified by the brutal disregard for ethics. The colonists celebrated their victory, and affirmed their religious fanaticism, declaring the Pequot extinct, and explained their victory once again as an act of God: “Let the whole Earth be filled with his glory! Thus the lord was pleased to smite our Enemies in the hinder Parts, and to give us their Land for an Inheritance.”


The Mystic Massacre during the Pequot War. Hundreds of men, women, and children were burned alive mercilessly. 

When John Winthrop landed alongside Arbella and its fleet, he was not focused on the presence of later dictators, globalization and trade, but rather, the establishment of Christian ideals on a clean slate. Invigorated by the lack of constraints and a dark history, he sought to create a society greater than its predecessors, “Secondly that he might haue the more occasion to manifest the work of his Spirit: first upon the wicked in [Page 34] moderating and restraining them: soe that the riche and mighty should not eate upp the poore nor the poore and dispised rise upp against and shake off theire yoake.” Winthrop wanted his city to be the most ideal place for a Christian, and one that would affect the lives of all who examined their lives. As centuries passed, and the fallacy of religion continued to be exposed, like the unraveling of the antiquated geocentric model; our concerns shifted to immediate concerns and threats. Milton writes in Areopagitica, what is far more relevant to today’s political agendas. Whereas, Winthrop focused solely on the institution of religion, Milton brings a radical concept of liberty that attempts to reverse the censorship. “While things are yet not constituted in Religion, that freedom of writing should berestrain’d by a discipline imitated from the Prelats, and learnt by them from the Inquisition to shut us up all again into the brest of a licencer, must needs give cause of doubt and discouragement to all learned and religious men. Who cannot but discern the finenes of this politic drift, and who are the contrivers; that while Bishops were to be baited down, then all Presses might be open; it was the peoples birthright and priviledge in time of Parlament, it was the breaking forth of light.” Milton references classical works in a well-thought prose that speaks to liberty and denounces the evil of tyranny.


Ronald Reagan faced a seemingly imminent but dwindling threat during the Cold War, and mentioned a “Shining City upon a Hill” to bring the American people together under an exaggeration of success. His focus was not establishing Christian ideals, but rather uniting the dreams and hopes of a nation to unite against a common foe. Barack Obama brings up the “City upon a Hill” at U. Mass, and mentions the imperfection of the dream over centuries of human inequality, but ultimately concludes that America has made significant advancements in civil rights, while pushing the boundaries of opportunity. He expressed contentment over the transformation and abundance of diversity in a city which carried a history of discrimination, “I see students that have come here from over 100 different countries, believing like those first settlers that they too could find a home in this City on a Hill – that they too could find success in this unlikeliest of places.” Obama mentions the “City upon a Hill” in a social manner, as well as Reagan, who also puts importance on the political implications. John Winthrop envisioned a wholly righteous and ideal Christian place for all of the world to admire, and while Obama and Reagan also speak to inspire the hopes and dreams of not just Americans, but  people across the world, their focus is far more centered on the movement of civil rights and based on maintaining political structure.


-Thomas Pham

Getting the gist of the phrase “city upon a hill”

If we trace the origins of the phrase “city upon a hill” which was taken from Matthew chapter 5 of the Bible, the connotations are made pretty evident. Jesus, the speaker, is encouraging Christians to becoming a shining example of holiness; to practice all of the admirable qualities the “blessed” have (Matthew 5:3-11). Just as a city upon a hill cannot hide, Jesus asks that Christians therefore “in the same way, let your light shine before others that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven (Matthew 5:16). This request isn’t meant to be one that asks Christians to boast about their good works, in fact in the very next chapter of Matthew, Jesus admonishes: “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven” (Matthew 6:1). The city upon a hill, in this sense, is then meant to serve as a “beacon”, and a Christian is not necessarily meant to be a flashy, pompadour, and self-righteous individual, but one that is a role model for goodness and holiness. Obviously we can’t ignore the denotative qualities of the phase “city upon a hill”. A city is a group of individuals coming under one nation; similarly, Christians recognize themselves as the people of God, and so there is a sense of nationality amongst the group. Of course, I believe that this second connotation that we may have derived from the phrase takes second chair. I say this primarily because how the metaphor was wedged in between two other metaphors (the salt and light, the candle and bowl) that were all essentially conveying the same message. This message, as we know, was summarized in Matthew 5:16.

After acknowledging that “city upon a hill” has two meanings, the latter not so important, it’s interesting that Winthrop chose to use the phrase. This isn’t to say that John Winthrop was hijacking the phrase and using it out context, only that he wasn’t using the primary metaphor. If we can recall, John Winthrop in his sermon, A Model of Christian Charity, uses “city upon a hill” to describe the colony being established in America. He asks his followers to obey certain cardinal values, for example “Justice and Mercy” (34), and treat others the way you want to be treated (35). The motive behind this sermon, is to encourage the people to work together, so that England can see that they are doing just fine on their own: “For wee must consider that wee shall be as a citty upon a hill. The eies of all people are upon” (47). Winthrop’s sermon is optimistic, it encourages the people that they too can be a beacon of hope to other pilgrims, provided that they follow a certain set of ideals and more importantly, get along with each other (which ties in the nationality part).

In regards to modern usage of the phrase, if we can successfully separate the fact that John Winthrop was a fervent Christian, knowingly using the phrase with religious connotations, but moreover to encourage a pride of nationality, we can see that modern usage doesn’t do justice to Winthrop’s meaning and definitely not Jesus’. Winthrop, like Jesus was arguing for sense of morality, a goodness that could bring the people together and serve as a beacon, Regan on the other hand, focuses on the city aspect of the phrase. He remarks that we’re different, coming together under the same nation, but that we are a melting pot who is open to everyone. In the speech, he makes it clear that America is a beacon of freedom and that is the only attribute, not that it’s just or that its good or that it’s moral, as Jesus and Winthrop alluded to. Similarly, Obama’s farewell speech took on the same verbiage that America was a beacon of freedom, a melting pot, etc. which changes the original meaning significantly, but not exceptionally. Obviously secular people may disagree, arguing that they’re essentially equal to each other, but as a Christian myself I can see the ways the Word of God has been augmented to fulfill a separate agenda, in the case of Regan and Obama, almost completely. Of course, there are parallels, the ones I have aforementioned, and so I can definitely see the similarities though they are broad.


-Sara Nuila-Chae

“A City Upon a Hill”

I think the meaning of “City Upon a Hill” doesn’t hold the same meaning for all, whether it is used in a personal, political or religious contexts. The first book of the New Testament is Matthew, and in 5.14 “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.” From a Christian point of view, this very moment was one of the greatest moments where Jesus is preaching literally on a hill. At this point in the Gospel, Jesus is continuing to teach and he is telling those to go and Love and  to go out into the world and do what he has done for them. To go out into the world and show love and compassion for one another.  Jesus taught to love and and care for all those around. As Winthrop continues to speak about love throughout his sermon, he is using it through a Christian standpoint, but at the same time the Christianity is taken out of its context. Ultimately Winthrop is on a ship with people who did break away from Their mother land, and in this he is trying to keep their spirits up. Trying to make sure they are kept alive in the spirit of being positive and trying to keep the faith. Like an ultimate promised land, as Winthrop discusses in his conclusion. He mentions Moses, and the story of Exodus is the ultimate promised land story. A promised land filled with Milk and Honey. Winthrop explains a faith to love one another, not to judge one another. If your brother needs help to go and pick him up, if you are the one who needs help, don’t be afraid to accept it if it is given to you. To give in abundance, but not in force. I think many leaders in politics do tend to give regards to John Winthrop’s sermon because it can be interpreted for wanting peace, love,and the pursuit of happiness. All things yearned for, from all leaders. To have a dream where all is well in society, where there is no violence, poverty or injustice. But to have a society where all is well, is still a dream. There may be times when we take a step forward, but then events happen that takes up three steps back, and the cycle continues to go on. It’s still a dream, and since Winthrop has come along way, but we still have a long way to go. To a certain extent, yes, we are loving but at the same time there is also a lot of hate. I do agree , Winthrop and Milton did refer to the same political and religious ideas borrowed from the imagery from the bible. They believed in hope, to hope for the best, to dream for the best.

-Viviana Ojeda

A City Upon a Hill: Is Still True Today

During Winthrop’s time the phrase ‘A City Upon a Hill’ meant that the Massachusetts Bay colony would be an example of Puritan perfection, and would be a holy state for others to follow. However, today America strongly believes in a separation between ‘church’ and ‘state’. There is no question that the Puritan work ethic is rich in this nation’s foundation, but as our first Amendment states “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting free speech” (US Const. amend. I, sect. 2). Therefore, today I think that the phrase ‘A City Upon a Hill’ means something more along the lines of a country for others to follow. The reason I say country and not city is because the U.S. has changed significantly since the Massachusetts Bay, or even the thirteen colonies for that matter in size, culture, and mentality. Although this country is very diverse, we are still one nation (under God). In John Winthrop’s A Modell for a Christian Chairty, he states “For this end, wee must be knitt together, in this worke, as one man. Wee must entertaine each other in brotherly [Page 47] affection. Wee must be willing to abridge ourselves of our superfluities, for the supply of other’s necessities. Wee must uphold a familiar commerce together in all meekeness, gentlenes, patience and liberality. Wee must delight in eache other; make other’s conditions our oune; rejoice together, mourne together, labour and suffer together, allwayes haueving before our eyes our commission and community in the worke, as members of the same bod” (Winthrop). This passage is significant because it conveys how Winthrop wants the community to think as one body moving in one direction, and hence, uplifting their people. In a way, that correlates to our country today, whether it’s tragic or incredible moments we stand together, and prevail, and root for one another. I think American exceptionalism was deeply influenced by Winthrop because in the founding of the U.S. our founding father agreed that we would think alike and build the new formed nation, but that this country would be like no other. In a sense, all of this is true, as the U.S. has freedoms and liberties found nowhere else in the world.

-Benjamin Montes