How does Winthrop start off his vision? He...
In "A Model of Christian Charity," John Winthrop, a main figure of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, discusses the best ideals and philosophy for their new colony in what would come to be known as the United States of America.
How does Winthrop start off his vision? He begins with money.
In all times some must be rich, some poor, some high and eminent in power and dignity; others mean and in submission,
According to Winthrop, the above distribution is up to God. It should not be questioned much further. As Winthrop says,
The rich and mighty should not eat up the poor, nor the poor and despised rise up against their superiors and shake off their yoke.
Winthrop's thoughts about the rich and the poor are quite relevant today. Now, we might call it "income inequality." You might want to see how Winthorp's ideas align and deviate from how powerful people today account for the gap between the rich and the poor.
Winthrop's attempt to justify the existence of rich people and poor people does not preclude solidarity. As Winthrop tells us (and the impending colonists),
Every man might have need of others, and from hence they might be all knit more nearly together in the bonds of brotherly affection.
This, too, connects to modern trends. Think about how well-off corporations (and the people they're composed of) support Black Lives Matter and various LGBTQ movements. Is this an example of Winthrop's "brotherly affection" or is it something more sinister and calculating?
Winthrop then goes on to talk about the importance of giving, lending, and love. According to Winthrop, "Love makes the world perfect."
He then encourages his fellow colonizers to see themselves as a "city upon a hill" with "the eyes of all people" watching them.
Again, it'd be fascinating to analyze Winthrop's speech by talking about how it links to current topics.
Think about how much emphasis people put on the word “love” with slogans like "Love Wins" and "Love Trumps Hate."
Also, you might analyze the pros and cons of Americans still seeing themselves as "city upon a hill." Do Americans still place themselves on a pedestal? Do they still feel like they have to set an example for the rest of the world? Why?
If you go this route, you might want to talk about race. It was an issue in Winthrop's time, as the White settlers fought against the indigenous people whose land they were seizing. Of course, race continues to be an issue, not just with indigenous people, but with all people of color.