Puritans and John Winthrop

Essay by jmoneylawUniversity, Bachelor's September 2006

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Comparing and contrasting theories of Madison & Winthrop

The political ideologies of John Winthrop and James Madison describe two very different governments in size and structure; however, there are some similarities in the core fundamentals of the early government of the United States and the Puritan colonies with their idea of "The New England Way" of government. Madison and Winthrop alike have a premonition similar to the likes of Plato, Hobbs, Machiavelli and other philosophers and political theorists that is if a man is left alone to his own devices he will inherently choose a self-serving decision based on blind passion rather than an alternative, which would serve the greater good of the community or a preservation of ones self. Puritan theocrats like John Winthrop would attribute society's evil nature or quest for greed to the "original sin" that was committed by Adam, Madison might attribute a similar scenario to a faction seeking to pursue its agenda at the expense, and disregard of all others.

"We must be knit together in this work as one man. We must entertain each other in brotherly affection; we must be willing to abridge ourselves of our superfluities, for the supply of others' necessities; we must uphold a familiar commerce together in all meekness, gentleness, patience and liberality. We must delight each other, make other's conditions our own, rejoice together, morn together, labor and suffer together: always having before our eyes our commission and community in the work, our community as members of the same body."

The above passage typifies the design of the puritan community they were alone in a new world and each of their lives and futures were interdependent or intertwined with one another through the grace and glory of god. The fabric of puritan society was woven together through their...