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John Winthrop And Ralph Waldo Emerson

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John Winthrop and Ralph Waldo Emerson were two prominent figures in the literature and the political scene of the American history. Winthrop (1588-1649) was a governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. He left England, along with a group of entrepreneurs in search of economic opportunities in the new world. Winthrop grew to become a strong puritan believer and possibly the pioneer of the Puritan faith. He believed that the English church was corrupted by its selfish leaders. Winthrop envisioned an idealized community in which all citizens would offer their lives to the service of God. On the other hand, Emerson (1803 –1882) was an American essayist, lecturer, thinker, philosopher, and poet. He was the leader of the Transcendentalist movement in the mid-19th century. He was regarded as a champion of individualism and a leader of the march against the pressure of society. His work and beliefs were documented in his published essays and lectures. Emerson gradually changed his views regarding religion and society. In the process, he developed his own way of thinking which revolved around the principles of transcendentalism and individualism. Winthrop and Emerson ideas of a utopia might have flourished from religious roots. However, their principals of Puritanism and transcendentalism were completely incongruent.
Winthrop envisioned an ideal utopia in which all citizens would devote their lives to the service of God. Ironically, Winthrop’s puritan movement and his beliefs of constructing a perfect society based on biblical teachings resulted in an impressive success in secular affairs. This success was often explained by what was known as the “Puritan Work Ethic,” which means the ability and willing t...

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