Was John Winthrop A "Freedom Man?"
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Religious teachings have evangelized the need for a just and harmonious society for decades. The government relies on the religious group to ensure that good will and consummate leadership is observed. The judiciary, on the other hand, forms the arm of the government that ensures that law offenders, who are adamant to the teaching of the religion, face the judgment and punishment for their crime. In this respect, the two institutions have a common goal of ensuring that there is order and respect among individuals. Winthrop happened to be a lawyer who had a strong heart in teachings of the Bible. Religion was part of what he was practicing even as he made his verdict in court cases. This is reflected from the teaching and the in-depth emphasis of biblical quotes and verses presented in his literal work “A Model of Christian Charity (1630).” From this book, the great aspect of Winthrop as a “Freedom Man” is manifested.
A “Freedom Man” aims at preaching and teaching the way of democratic and modest life. A freedom man will envisage and drive the vision of freedom among the citizens at all levels. His critical idea and goal is aimed at establishing a society where individuals treat each other with respect, justice, love and kind human heart. In such society, there should be no discrimination or slavery among individuals, since “all persons are equal before the eyes of Creator”. This message is reflected in Winthrop’s way of life, to an extent of being credited as the “Freedom Man” by President Ronald Reagan.
Winthrop literal work envisioned a community where social order prevailed. This was his ideal, where the old England would emerge from the realms of wreckage to a New England whose citizens upheld human dignity. On the same vein, Winthrop envisioned an American government that would incorporate political and religious doctrines “both civil and ecclesiastical” (81). From his perspective, the freedom can be achieved eminently where ecclesiastical teachings are engraved in government policies. The teaching of the free will giving that is not benched on coercion or compelling rules are eminent in Winthrop teachings. He argues that it is through this paradigm that the country can weed off cases of corruption (82). This is a true trend for a “Freedom Man” with the interest in the nation at heart.
Reagan’s idea of crowning Winthrop a “Freedom Man” gains ground from the most celebrated saying in England “A city upon a hill”, which was coined by Winthrop. This saying gained favor in the public, and several people from England did set pace towards excellence. The saying was a reawakening call for the people to set good examples to the world, which has its eyes on the city. Winthrop called for the people to be aware that their actions were being monitored and any downfall will be recorded as shameful approach. Therefore, English people had no option other than upholding the doctrine good leadership.
As reflected in the “Model of Christian Charity”, Winthrop explains how the Creator plays a crucial role in maintaining the order in a society. He explains the need to have all individuals in a given community to coexist despite their social class differences. The rich have a role in ensuring sustainability of the poor, while the poor need to respect their superior without insinuations of rising against them (83). This is imperative in maintaining a productive, harmonious and peaceful society since every individual needs the other. Whether rich of poor, young or old they all rely on each other for existence. Winthrop emphasized on the vitality of “brotherly affection” among all people (83). This is a claiming factor asserting the Reagan’s description of Winthrop.
The power of unconditional love recapitulates the Winthrop ideas as presented in the article. Freedom cannot be attained without respect and love inside the communities. It is in this respect that Winthrop renounces enmity and stresses on imperative of loving the neighbor. At this point he brings in Biblical quotes from the book of Matthew, and recaptures the story of Abraham and Lot in respect to love. The freedom he yearns and preaches outpours from the cocoons of religions quoting the verse from the book of Matthew 5:44, which emphasizes on loving enemies. These teachings further explain the need to help our neighbor compassionately.
Freedom can never excel in an environment inept of collaboration and forgiveness. These points are also engraved in the religious doctrines, especially in the Bible where forgiving is said to be many times. Collaborative spirit is also highlighted and a reference from the Bible is made. Winthrop quotes the book of Deuteronomy 15:7, which emphasizes on the needs to assist the less privileged in the society (85). By following this principle, issues of slavery, poverty, crime, and oppression will be weeded off in the community. This will be an incredible approach towards achieving freedom for all the individuals in the society.
In conclusion, Winthrop is presented as an individual who aimed at establishment of a unified society, where differences were buried and brotherly love cultivated. Cohabitation and free association are the key themes that Winthrop believes can engineer freedom. The doctrines of ecclesiastical and civil should also be embraced in the government. Interestingly, the community stands to benefit from love of God, and avoid wreckage through adoption of practicing justice, embracing brotherly love, sharing willingly, and being empathetic at all times. In this manner, the load to freedom will be easily established. In this manner, Winthrop is presented as a “Freedom Man” who practiced justice even in areas where it was difficult to practice. Therefore, Reagan was observant and right, Winthrop is a Freedom Man.