John Winthrop

John Winthrop
A Modell of Puritan Ideology
 Born: January 12, 1587— Died: March 26, 1649
 Occupation:
 In England: Lawyer; Lord of the Manor
 In Massachusetts Bay Colony: Governor
 Background:
 Born to wealthy family: father was a lawyer; mother from an
upper-class family.
 Studied law; did not advance to the bar
 Held a post for Court of Wards and Liveries
 Twice widowed, and married at third time to Margaret Tyndall,
April 29, 1618.
Emigration and Colonization
Investors acquire a grant for land between the
Charles River and Merrimack Rivers (now
Boston); named New England Company
renamed Massachusetts Bay Company, with
royal charter to govern its territory
Winthrop arrives on the Arbella (without his wife)
elected as Governor for the first time
Autonomy and Government
 Massachusetts Bay Company: a two-fold definition of “company”
 an economic venture, establishing trade in the New World
 a religious venture, allying Puritans who self-identified as
“persecuted” by the intolerance for their fundamentalist view in
England (a.k.a., radical rightwing conservatives)
 a political venture, to obtain autonomy and self-governance for
 A clause in the original charter did not state specifically where the
company were supposed to meet, in effect giving Winthrop the
power to create an autonomous government if he wished.
 This loophole became the first challenge to England’s authority to
govern the colonies.
A Modell of Christian Charity
 Written and orated either before the embarkation of the
Arbella, or during the 1630 Transatlantic crossing.
 Spiritually didactic and practically etiological
 Reinforced the tenets of Puritanism and encouraged selfreliance
 Prepared colonists for the real-life rigors and dangers of
colonial settlement, and encouraged interdependence
Literary Technique
 Literary authority of “Modell” lay in the literal authority of
 Self-authority eschewed
 No original imagery or metaphor
 No self-attribution
 Self-authority eschewed
 Scriptural Quotation and Paraphrase for support and
 Exegesis as a literary form
 Sermon as an accepted form of Puritan literature
Themes That Seeded the
Concept of “American Identity”
 Self-reliance
 Interdependence
 Over-coming hardship and oppression
 Charity and Outreach
 Exclusionary practices (Octavio Paz, "Puritan society is
a culture based on the principle of exclusion.”)
 Intolerance for religious difference
 Presumption of superiority over indigenous populations
 Territorial claim and exploitation of resources
Gather into groups and examine “A Modell of Christian Charity.” All groups should examine how the literal
authority of scripture is used by Winthrop to create his own literary voice authority. Additionally, each group
should look for allusions or references to the following and discuss how each relates to the importance of
"Christian" charity as the model by which the success of the Company of Massachusetts Bay in New
England would be guaranteed spiritually, politically, and economically. Each group, however, should
concentrate on one of the following tenets or themes in the sermon (which will be assigned to your group):
Group 1:
original depravity
Group 2:
limited atonement
Group 3:
irresistible grace
Group 4:
Group 5:
Covenant Theology and the idea of a “City On a Hill”
Group 7:
The “body politic” (examine how Winthrop uses “the body” to explain the model of social order

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