John Winthrop Portrait By Unknown – Public Domain, Link

John Winthrop – A Model of Christian Charity full document

John Winthrop was an English Puritan lawyer and one of the leading figure in founding the Massachusetts Bay Colony. He was the 2nd, 6th, 9th, and 12th Governor of the colony.

Puritans left England for the new world when anti-Puritan King Charles I began a crackdown on Nonconformist religious thought. Puritans emphasized the individuals relationship to God, instead of the Catholic church as intermediary.


Engraving showing Winthrop’s arrival at Salem By Unknown – Public Domain, Link

Intro to Winthrop and A Model of Christian Charity

A Model of Christian Charity is a lay sermon. A sermon written by a non-religious figure. Winthrop was a lawyer by trade.

His writings and vision of the colony as a Puritan “city upon a hill” dominated New England colonial development, influencing the governments and religions of neighboring colonies.

The phrase a “City upon the Hill” is a biblical reference but it has long been used as an example of American exceptionalism.

The phrase has been famously used by Presidents JFK, Ronald Reagan, Barack Obama, and most recently by Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney in his condemnation of Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign:

His domestic policies would lead to recession; his foreign policies would make America and the world less safe. He has neither the temperament nor the judgment to be president, and his personal qualities would mean that America would cease to be a shining city on a hill.