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As a city on a hill : the story of America's most famous lay sermon

Author: Daniel T Rodgers
Publisher: Princeton : Princeton University Press, [2018] ©2018
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
"'For we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill,' John Winthrop warned his fellow Puritans at New England's founding in 1630. More than three centuries later, Ronald Reagan remade that passage into a timeless celebration of American promise. How were Winthrop's long-forgotten words reinvented as a central statement of American identity and exceptionalism? In As a City on a Hill, leading American  Read more...
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Genre/Form: History
Criticism, interpretation, etc
Named Person: John Winthrop; John Winthrop; John Winthrop
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Daniel T Rodgers
ISBN: 9780691181592 0691181594
OCLC Number: 1032581239
Description: viii, 355 pages : illustration ; 23 cm
Contents: Introduction: "The most famous lay sermon in all of American history" --
Part I, Text. Writing "A model of Christian charity" --
"We shall be as a city upon a hill" --
A chosen people --
New England in a world of holy experiments --
Left all alone in America --
Love is a bond or ligament --
Moralizing the market economy --
The poor and the boundaries of obligation --
Part II, Nation. Inventing foundations --
Mobile metaphors of nationalism --
From the top mast --
Constructing a city on a hill in Africa --
The carnage of God's chosen nations --
Part III, Icons. The historical embarrassments of New England --
Puritanism in an existentialist key --
Arguing over the Puritans during the Cold War --
Ronald Reagan's shining city on a hill --
Puritan foundations of an "exceptionalist" nation --
Ambivalent evangelicals --
Epilogue: Disembarking from the Arbella --
Appendix: John Winthrop, "A model of Christian charity" : a modern transcription.
Responsibility: Daniel T. Rodgers.

Abstract:

"'For we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill,' John Winthrop warned his fellow Puritans at New England's founding in 1630. More than three centuries later, Ronald Reagan remade that passage into a timeless celebration of American promise. How were Winthrop's long-forgotten words reinvented as a central statement of American identity and exceptionalism? In As a City on a Hill, leading American intellectual historian Daniel Rodgers tells the surprising story of one of the most celebrated documents in the canon of the American idea. In doing so, he brings to life the ideas Winthrop's text carried in its own time and the sharply different yearnings that have been attributed to it since. As a City on a Hill shows how much more malleable, more saturated with vulnerability, and less distinctly American Winthrop's 'Model of Christian Charity' was than the document that twentieth-century Americans invented. Across almost four centuries, Rodgers traces striking shifts in the meaning of Winthrop's words--from Winthrop's own anxious reckoning with the scrutiny of the world, through Abraham Lincoln's haunting reference to this "almost chosen people," to the 'city on a hill' that African Americans hoped to construct in Liberia, to the era of Donald Trump. As a City on a Hill reveals the circuitous, unexpected ways Winthrop's words came to lodge in American consciousness. At the same time, the book offers a probing reflection on how nationalism encourages the invention of "timeless" texts to straighten out the crooked realities of the past."--Book jacket flap.

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"[Daniel Rodgers] argues that the comparison of America to a city on a hill that politicians often use, quoting from John Winthrop's 1630 lay sermon 'Model of Christian Charity, ' is not true to the Read more...

 
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