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John Winthrop and the Suffolk County Court Cases

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In 1630, Puritan leader John Winthrop led the great migration to the New World. On board the ship Arbella, John Winthrop delivered a sermon titled "A Model of Christian Charity." His speech outlined the objectives he hoped to achieve in the New World. His ideals slightly influenced the Puritans judgments and philosophy however not as much as he had initially hoped for. It seems the judgments of the Suffolk County Court were not influenced by the Arbella sermon. Similarly, it doesn't appear that Winthrop's sermon influenced the testimony against Bridget Bishop either. However, the Suffolk County Court cases do differ from the case against Bridget Bishop. The paradox between the two illustrates both Puritan successes and failures.

Before comparing the judgments of the Suffolk County Court and the testimony against Bridget Bishop one must understand the key points in the Arbella sermon. John Winthrop realized that starting a colony across the Atlantic Ocean with about 5000 radical Puritans was going to be a challenge. Without a police force or strong stabilized government it was going to be difficult to keep these Puritans united in a foreign land. Winthrop was afraid that the search of spiritual freedom that had driven his people from England would also tear them apart from one another and doom their new lives as a disappointment. Therefore, in Winthrop's sermon he believed love would bring his future community together. He makes several references to this point. He states, "We are a company professing ourselves fellow members of Christ, in which respect only though we were absent from each other many miles, and had our improvements as far distant, yet we ought to account ourselves knit together by this bond of lov...

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...the Arbella sermon to the other two documents the Puritan settlers failed. Winthrop's main objective was to live peacefully with love uniting the landscape. He optimistically wanted the rich to respect the poor and the poor to admire the rich. Even in today's society that is a hard wish to make true. I believe that most of the successes and failures occurred in spite of Puritanism. Puritanism is simply a type of lifestyle. Even with people practicing the same religion conflicts are going to occur; this has always been the case and always will. However, with so many Puritans living in the same demagogue it is hard to believe that religion did not have a major part in the shaping of the colony. Overall, the Puritans wanted a new home and they got it despite all the hardships along the way. Therefore, it is hard to explain why New England was a complete failure.
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