Changing Hierarchies in Early America Essay

3881 WordsMay 10, 201116 Pages
Changing Hierarchies in Early America In “A Model of Christian Charity,” John Winthrop proposes to change the existing social and economic hierarchy. The old world social hierarchy divided the classes based on wealth and property. The highest class consisted of the king and royal family, then followed by the bishops. Next on the hierarchy were the nobles, gentlemen, and the wealthy. And at the bottom of the hierarchy of course, were the poor. Because of this extreme division, there was no middle ground between the wealthy and poor. That is, the old world hierarchy allowed the rich to hold power over the poor. The poor would live and work on the land in exchange for protection from the wealthy. In other words, the poor had to work as…show more content…
If you love someone, they will love you back. This will of course lead to a better economy and society. When people love each other, they are able to step beyond the divisions placed on them by society. If people are willing to step past those divisions and aid each other, then the class systems become unimportant. This mobility will bring the rich closer to the poor while at the same time allowing the poor to rise higher to the level of the rich. In addition, Winthrop explains that if people love each other, that God will “delight to dwell among … His own people” (158). In other words, the presence of God will encourage them in being successful. Then the ideals of the Massachusetts Bay Colony will spread, along with the concept of God’s love. Even though Winthrop began his argument by affirming the old world social hierarchy, by the end of his sermon he has created a community of love. Winthrop’s steps set up an ideal, harmonious Christian community, mostly free of the divisions caused by social differences. This is remarkable because he is changing the ideals for the new world. A community of love is the beginning of a republic. Winthrop is setting up Americans to create a democratic society by instilling in everyone the concept of the community of love. Anne Bradstreet also wanted to create a community of love. However, she takes Winthrop’s idea of a community of love a step further. In addition to
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