Morone - Hellfire Nation

Morone - Hellfire Nation - INTRODUCTION 9 cfw(Ol\~ l AYtE S...

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9 {:"((Ol"'\~ l' AYtE. SR. MoR.O)\)~, t\ E. Ll F \ 1tE.. to f\1\ol'l: ,\-\1:. POL \TH.:S O~ .s \l'v I~ \itJ\E..R..Ic:.I1t-.> \\\STO{t,? !\JE.W l1FWe.N: '?f:1\ .... ~ \)\Il\\JE..a,.sn,,< PRESS, ).,OO=t). Morality Morality politics comes with its own foundation myth. "It seems to me," wrote Tocqueville, "that I can see the entire destiny of America contained in the first INTRODUCTION Puritan who came ashore." Those early settlers confronted a question that would echo across the years: Who are we? Back home, the crown had provided the answer by persecuting Puritans. "But New England's peace and plenty ... breeds strange security," warned minister Thomas Shepherd in 1636. Here "there are no enemies to hunt you to heaven."ll Who were they? The Puritans concocted a celebrated solution. They were the community of saints. Leadership, in both church and state, fell to men pre- ordained for salvation by their Calvinist God. They calibrated their ranks with fme moral distinctions-the saints even dreamed up a category for people ad- mitted "half-way" into their church congregations. Virtue distinguished lead- ers from followers, voters from nonvoters, us from them. 12 As they founded their towns, the colonists signed covenants pledging "mu- tuallove." The members of these tight communities promised to watch over and assist one another. In the fine print they also vowed, as the Dedham, Mas- sachusetts, covenant put it, "to keep off from us such as are contrary minded." The boundary between the saints and the contrary minded quickly grew hot. The Puritans slaughtered Native Americans (agents of Satan), hanged witches (carnal knowers of Satan), and sent heretics packing to Rhode Island ("the latrina of New England," even then). In his Puritan histories, Cotton Mather portrayed a New England under constant siege; waves of satanic malice crashed down on the good community. "It was time for the devil to take alarm" and "attack a plantation so contrary to his interests," wrote Mather about the first Indian wars against the Pequot people. "A horrible army of devils is broke in ... upon the people of God," he commented about the witch frenzy in Salem Village. Each enemy clarified the settlers' identity by demonstrating what they were not, what they must never become. 13 One last leap marked the Puritans and their legacy. They arrived with a mission-redeeming the Protestant reformation. In the old world, Anglican corruption eroded Calvin's ideals. Here the settlers would start fresh, organize a Christian commonwealth, and perhaps set a model for the rest of the world. Even before they reached land, John Winthrop delivered his beautiful ser- mon. "We shall be as a city on a hill, the eyes of all people are upon us." The stakes were huge. "If the Lord shall be pleased ... He shall make us a praise and a glory."This odd idea stuck and spread. The Calvinist culture burst out of New England on gusts of religious revival led by the purer Puritans, the Bap- tistS.
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