Joyanna Adams

Nobody's Opinion

Nobody Remembers John Winthrop

Nobody Remembers

Ever since Ronald Reagan sited John Winthrop’s famous line about how we must strive to be “The shining light on a hill”— John’s place in history was set. After all, not many of us knew who the heck he was. Most people don’t even know who the Vice President is. When Reagan said it, we just thought of some guy standing on the a hill with a big lantern. Well…okay. I did.John Winthrope

John Winthrop was the first governor of Massachusetts.  Winthrop actually kick-started America. Before him, America was just a scattering of various people of all kinds, trying to established the wilderness. John was one of the first to really get a population going in New England, and he did it with a firm hand. And by that I mean…VERY strict. He was a Puritan. Sort of a mullah, a pure pope. A top dog of religion. He fancied himself to Moses, and this was long before Russell Crow got the part.

Brooks and Charles Adams later blamed him for the bigotry which lead to the Salem witch trials….of which I’ve been told, ANOTHER one of my ancestors took part of. He was accused of being a witch, (my ancestor)  but was later excused. (I must ask my cousin his name, who does our genealogies…but I’m off subject)

Previous colonies had failed because they were ‘carnall not religious.’ Wintrhop said. Only a colony which was governed by reformed religion stood a chance.

John came from Cambridge, trained as a lawyer and worked in the Court of Wards— but lost it because of his Puritan views. And  he”came to the conclusion that overcrowded, irreligious, ill-governed England was a lost cause.”

In his General Observations for the Plantation of New England he wrote:

All other Churches of Europe are brought  to desolation and it cannot be but that the like Judgment is coming upon us…This land grows weary of its Inhabitants, so as man, who is the most precious of all Creature, is heere more vile and base than the earth they tread upon…We are grown to the height of intemperance in all excess of Ryot, as no mans estate almost will suffice to keep sayle with his equals…The fountains of Learning and Religion are corrupted….Most children, even the best wittes and fayrest hope, are perverted, corrupted and utterly overthrown by the multitude of evil examples and the licentious government of those seminaries.

(Sound like America 2015?)

But fortunately, the people of England who were fed up with their country, could leave, unlike the Americans of today. I mean, where would we go? Mexico?Mass_Bay_Colony2

America was a wide open land, where a man could hope to own land, unlike in England, where just the few could own land. And once you learned how to farm…you were set for life.

So, John Winthrop, in the winter of 1629, formed the largest and best equipped English expedition to America yet.  John bought over 1,000 colonists and settle them all around Boston Harbor. And John’s city of light upon the hill was basically a theocracy. The leaders were chosen by men of the church, recruited on their “Godly” behavior, and John Winthrop was their ‘godly’ dictator.

“We must consider that wee shall be as a City upon a Hill, the eyes of all people are upon us.”Puritan

BUT…and this is important, (its what separates us from Muslims) there was a wide selection of people who had come to America to get away from the hierarchical orders..that John had set up. They believed that God comes directly to them…they didn’t have to go through any kind of clergy to get near to god. The newly arrived people wanted to get away from clergy rule. And even thought Winthrop was a great leader…not everyone wanted to be under his strict rule.

But…like many dictators do, Winthrop got carried away with his own power.  He made all colonists, swear an oath of loyalty to his government in accordance with the charter…and after four years, people demanded to see this “charter” which John Winthrop, had kept a secret, but….he finally  had to give in.

And then he admitted, that according to the charter,  he had taken maybe too many liberties.

Sorry. Oops.

The new Americans were bound and determined to be ruled by law, not by men, and they were also promised ‘the rights of Englishmen” which Winthrop had taken from them.

So they threw him out. ( You gotta love those first Englishmen.)

From A History of the American People:

“Thus the first political coup in the history of North America was carried out, in 1634 when the colony was still in its infancy. And it was carried out not by force of swords and firearms but by arguments and speeches, and in accordance with the rule of law.John W. Two

I wish I could tell you that was the end of it, but no…John Winthrop came back after two years, got back into the governorship, went back to his old dictator ways, and was again…demoted to deputy governor in 1644.

Nevertheless..he regained the governorship in 1646 and held it to his death three years later.

So the history lesson here……is………….


You can’t let these politicians stay in office…because you can NEVER get rid of them, and before you know it, they start quoting each other.


June 5, 2015 - Posted by | American History, Uncategorized | ,

1 Comment »

  1. Et tu Brutus.


    Comment by spookmoor | June 5, 2015 | Reply

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