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Religion and American History

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  1. Introduction
  2. John Winthrop's A Model of Christian Charity
  3. Religion and the Thirteen Colonies
  4. Conclusion

According to Winthrop, United States is a Canaan (promised land) for the people according to God's will so as to a life regarded as moral (Winthrop, 1996). By following God's laws and rejecting the Europe's morally flawed ways, United States would as well be referred to as a city upon a hill. To realize this dream, obedience and unity were required so as not to risk the wrath of god. Winthrop greatly emphasized the need for justice and charity on behalf of the poor from the rich. By putting compassion into exercise, the society would prosper. Adjacent to the settlement; Puritan settlements, which were headed by Winthrop, several other colonists held different views on religion and state matters. Regardless of these groups' ideas on politics, none of their works had such an impact as the speech by Winthrop on generations regarding its rhetoric devices (Winthrop, 1996).

More than 375 years after Winthrop presented his speech, the statement ?a city upon a hill,? was used to refer to what the united States should live to be has since been used in American political rhetoric. With the civil religion construction after the Declaration of Independence in the late 18th century, the major shift to the analysis of United States as a shining example to the globe came. The founding fathers put together their ideas of American exceptionalism into a civil religion by making use of the ideas and metaphors of being a moral example that faced threats from God (Christian God), the founding fathers encountered a more significant balancing act. They had a task to come up with a system that balanced and checked many religious and political concerns. The founding fathers ensured that there was no one denomination that had a favored hand by coming up with the concept of separation of state and church. Civil religion came in place so as to incorporate all the other denominations (Winthrop, 1966). All the denominations were covered under it since it had no specific rites. By this, political common ground was reached that had limitation to the direct influence of God

[...] (2002). The Declaration of Independence. New York: Scholastic Reference. Hamilton, A., Madison, J., Jay, J., & Goldman, L. (2008). The Federalist papers. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Cousins, N. (1958). In God we trust: The religious beliefs and ideas of the American founding fathers. New York: Harper. [...]


[...] To realize this dream, obedience and unity were required so as not to risk the wrath of god. Winthrop greatly emphasized the need for justice and charity on behalf of the poor from the rich. By putting compassion into exercise, the society would prosper. Adjacent to the settlement; Puritan settlements, which were headed by Winthrop, several other colonists held different views on religion and state matters. Regardless of these groups' ideas on politics, none of their works had such an impact as the speech by Winthrop on generations regarding its rhetoric devices (Winthrop, 1996). [...]


[...] Religious diversity was a great determinant and dominant of the colonial life. The colonies were a pack of religiously diverse communities resulting to population increase in America (Noll, 2007). Religion was an essential aspect in American colonization. The lives of the colonists were dominated over the years by religion as it was the refuge for people who yearned for religious freedom. There were six colonies among the thirteen that were founded for religious motives. They included Plymouth, Massachusetts Bay, New Haven, Connecticut, Rhode Islands, Maryland and Pennsylvania. [...]

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