John Winthrop was one of the greatest influences on the development of the United States of America, her eventual Constitution of 1776, and thus her way of life for most of her existence.
John Winthrop noted:
“Now if the Lord shall please to hear us, and bring us in peace to the place we desire, then hath He ratified this covenant and sealed our commission, and will expect a strict performance of the articles contained in it; but if we shall neglect the observation of these articles which are the ends we have propounded, and, dissembling with our God, shall fail to embrace this present world and prosecute our carnal intentions, seeking great things for ourselves and our posterity, the Lord shall surely break out in wrath against us, and be revenged of such a people, and make us know the price of the breach of such a covenant…we shall be made a story and a byword through the world.” – Beeman, Richard, Golway, Terry American Political Speeches, New York, N.Y., 2012, Penguin Books, pp. 1-2
Winthrop was a wealthy English Puritan lawyer and one of the leading figures in the founding of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, the first major settlement in New England after Plymouth Colony. Winthrop led the first large wave of migrants from England in 1630, and served as governor for 12 of the colony’s first 20 years of existence. His writings and vision of the colony as a Puritan “city upon a hill” dominated New England colonial development, influencing the government and religion of neighboring colonies.