Literature and History: The Development of American Culture to 1865

John Winthrop

I am an immigrant myself. I came to the state from Taiwan when I was 11. In my young mind I knew I was going to the land of opportunity and freedom. It was a place where I could dream and be whoever I wanted. It was the place to be. So when I read John Winthrop I was deeply amused by how “DIFFERENT” his idea of “America” would be to mine. He was a very serious person and he had a very serious idea of what would become of America. His speech to the Puritan I think was more restricting then being an Asian. It was morally restricting, not even physically or on the outside. He wants the Puritans to cleanse their mind completely and make God the center of all thinking. He uses his speech to unify the people by saying that we all need each other to survive. He basically gave a speech on how to “LIVE” to his people. I find this amusing because America started off with this person and it emerges into the land of “freedom”? I would of never though this would be the person who carried the vision of America. I kind of see someone with long flowing hair and runs naked in the woods to be the leader who brought the vision of Freedom to this nation. However, this contradiction image of how America started and what it is now is a very important image that we should see. In a way the Puritan were seeking FREEDOM from Europe. They were looking for a place to cultivate their religious beliefs. However, the moment that that received this freedom they put 100% force on keeping it aligned with their idea. It’s like when America declared independence from Britain they actually became more conservative then before. It’s just interesting to see how freedom doesn’t necessary bring “FREEDOM” but more “RESTRICTION” because “being free” is just so broad that it could easily take the minds of many to a very distant land and never return. That would be a scary thought if everyone have long hair and runs naked in the wood! that wouldn’t really make a nation, that would  make a tribe. there’s a difference I think…


One response

  1. I actually like Winthrop’s approach to coming to America. Especially coming from England, and at this time period, tension was still high amongst the old empire and the new world. One statement mention that I agree with is about the rich and the poor, For the rich not to eat up the poor and for the poor not to rise above the rich. I mean clearly this seems like common sense for us in today’s world, but for a new country to emerge from many immigrant’s from Europe (who was experiencing this exact problem) it ends up seeming plausible. Or when he mentions, no man is made more honorable than another or more wealthy. Also, once again, sounds like common sense to us. However, if you take a step back in society today, look at occupy Wall St. That’s based on citizens who feel underpaid or neglected from the government and that the extremely wealthy keep receiving praise, while the struggling class goes unnoticed.

    December 16, 2011 at 12:23 pm

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