RyanShumway_MidtermEssay - RyanShumway MidtermEssay July22...

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Ryan Shumway Midterm Essay July 22 Question 1 I was assigned the first question which is, What is the evidence that most colonists in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries wanted their societies and political life to be based on hierarchy? Why did they value hierarchy so strongly? What specific forms of hierarchy developed in colonial America, and why? Given this colonial mindset, how do you explain the coming of the American Revolution? As I thought how I could begin my midterm paper, the first question came to mind, Why would the colonists even desire a hierarchy system? I think the answer is two fold. First, the one’s who are higher in the hierarchy are the ones who would favor a system, where they can go to a new world, and have their same station as before, no work required. John Winthrop in “A model of Christian Charity” argued that God was “delighted to show forth the glory of his wisdom.. in the differences of the creature.” To the wealthy he addressed them as “the great ones”, and to the poor class he addressed them bluntly as “the poor and inferior sort”. So why would these puritan want this lifestyle, when most of them are going to be that poor and inferior sort? What does John Winthrop have to gain from being up high on the ladder of hierarchy? My second thought on why they so strongly desired hierarchy was that they didn’t know anything different. There weren’t any other systems of Government and social order set in place for them to look to. Coming from their native land of Britain with a King, they were born and raised under a system of lords and nobles. John Winthrop understood this as he explained the city on a hill type future for the pioneer puritans. “Whatsoever we did or ought to have done when we lived in England, the same must we do, and more also where we go.” His argument was that having hierarchy was good for their covenant society because it gave them a chance to work together, in brotherly love for the good of the whole. Of course encouraging this type of society would give John a soft chair to work in, but that’s not important. He helped them understand that it was for the Glory of God, that they work in unity and love to support each other, the poor and inferior, and the great ones. The desire for hierarchy didn’t change when Dedham Massachusetts was founded. Established by Puritans, the farms were divided unequally, in order to keep with Winthrop’s idea of a society where you have to rely on one another. If you were wealthy in England, why shouldn’t you be wealthy in Dedham? People who were richer got more farmland, in order to not bring out the selfishness in all of us by equal competition. Why do you think they valued Hierarchy so? The people in Dedham who weren’t complaining about the way the farms were split were the rich people. When their children come along they have plenty of land to split up instead of the poor and inferior. They wanted everyone
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