John Winthrop: America's Forgotten Founding Father

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John Winthrop: America's Forgotten Founding Father

Author: Francis J. Bremer
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Copyright: 2005
Pages: 514
Cover Price: $ 24.99

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John Winthrop's effort to create a Puritan "City on a Hill" has had a lasting effect on American values, and many remember this phrase famously quoted by the late Ronald Reagan. However, most know very little about the first American to speak these words.

In John Winthrop, Francis J. Bremer draws on over a decade of research in England, Ireland, and the United States to offer a superb biography of the first governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, one rooted in a detailed understanding of his first forty years in England. Indeed, Bremer provides an extensive, path-breaking treatment of Winthrop's family background, youthful development, and English career. His dissatisfaction with the decline of the "godly kingdom of the Stour Valley" in which he had been raised led him on his errand to rebuild such a society in a New England. In America, Winthrop would use the skills he had developed in England as he struggled with challenges from Roger Williams and Anne Hutchinson, among others, and defended the colony from English interference. We also see the personal side of Winthrop--the doubts and concerns of the spiritual pilgrim, his everyday labors and pleasures, his feelings for family and friends. And Bremer also sheds much light on important historical moments in England and America, such as the Reformation and the rise of Puritanism, the rise of the middling class, the colonization movement, and colonial relations with Native Americans. Incorporating previously unexplored archival materials from both sides of the Atlantic, here is the definitive portrait of one of the giants of our history.

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Background Information

John Winthrop was one of the leaders of the Pilgrims in their settlement in Plymouth beginning in 1620. The Massachusetts Bay Colony was chartered in England and included the settlements near Boston. Roger Williams was driven from the Massachusetts Bay Colony due to his religious views and founded Providence, Rhode Island. Anne Hutchinson was expelled from Massachusetts for speaking out against Puritan practices and became a founder of Rhode Island.