John Winthrop

Tori Zettle, Bobby Manning, Sam Barrick, Roberto Arguello

Winthrop's Early Life


John Winthrop was born on January 12th 1588 to Adam and Anne Winthrop. His father was a successful man in the textile industry, he was a lawyer and he owned a 500 acre estate bought from Henry Vlll during the reformation. Winthrop was part of the gentry, a social class that became the dominant force in English society between 1540 and 1640. His family was well positioned and well educated. At the age of 15 he entered Trinity College, Cambridge, two years later he married the first of his four wives. When Winthrop took charge of the Manor, was involved in the management of the estate, overseeing the agricultural activities and the manor house. He eventually followed his father in practicing law in London and that brought him into contact with the city's elites.

Winthrop pictured the Massachusetts colonists in convent ant with and with one another. Critics have seen him as a visionary utopian, while other saw him as a social reactionary. However, it is known that he urged his fellow colonists to adopt combinations of group discipline and individual responsibility, ideals shared by his fellow puritans with whom he was involved with. This combination gave Massachusetts immediate and lasting success as a social experiment. For Winthrop, a very religious leader, political unity demanded religious conformity. He was responsible for maintaining civic and social order in the colony. Yet Winthrop understood that a measure of dissent and disagreement was inevitable.

John Winthrop's Contributions to Colonial Development


John Winthrop was one of the leading founders of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, led by the Puritan movement. Leaving his life in England driven away by King Charles 1 anti-puritan policy he sailed to the new world where he helped lay the groundwork for the thriving success of what would soon become the model of what a colony and the colonial system should be. A model of state and church working side by side together free of religious persecution. As he stated in a speech aboard the ship heading to the new world his vision was of "a city upon a hill" where everyone would watch to see if their puritan ideals and society would succed or fail under his leadership and vision. Winthrop and the other Puritan leaders, helped bring about the religious freedom that the puritans so desperately wanted for themselves and all other who moved to start their lives in the New World, and the Massachusetts Bay Colony thrived under his leadership and the puritans ideals. He helped guide not only the Massachusetts Bay Colony to success but was a father figure and elected governor of Massachusetts for 12 years of his life where he oversaw the surrounding colonies to succed just as the Massachusetts Bay Colony did.


Integrity & Citizenship

Winthrop's Citizenship

Citizenship is defined by WordNet as “the status of a citizen with rights and duties.” A citizen is obligated to fulfill certain duties to the state in return for their rights and protection. John Winthrop demonstrated citizenship not only when he moved to America, but also before. Back in England, Winthrop worked for the government as justice of the peace, and he even had achieved a government office. Taking that position was not a duty required by the state for his citizenship, but he chose to do it showing that he is a dedicated citizen. He also showed his citizenship after he landed in America. He was elected governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony and kept the good of the colony in mind when he could have easily become greedy with power. Urging colonists to maintain individual responsibility and group discipline, he lead the colony to success. The amount of effort to gain success for the colony, and maintain it, proves that he is willing to go beyond the normal citizen’s duties for the good of the state. In the end, he had no regrets moving to America because he had the chance to “build a godly commonwealth.” Winthrop’s achievements show how he was constantly working for the good of the state, which validates his outstanding citizenship.


Winthrop's Integrity

Integrity.- the quality of being honest and having stronghold moral principles


Integrity was defined as being honest and having stronghold moral principles. Throughout John Winthrop's life he showed his integrity by being in many branches of the court as well as being a lawyer and became Lord of the Manor at Groton and Suffolk. To hold such positions, he had to have strong integrity. As well as being a very religious person, Winthrop threw himself into scriptural study and prayers and gradually trained himself into a full-fledged Puritan. During his religious experience he reinforced his outlook, but it also made him a social activist. And during the late 1620s, Winthrop felt increasingly trapped by the economic slump that reduced his landed income and by Charles I’s belligerent anti-Puritan policy, which cost him his court post in 1629. When, in 1629, the Massachusetts Bay Company obtained a royal charter to plant a colony in New England, Winthrop joined the company, pledging to sell his English estate and take his family to Massachusetts if the company government and charter were also transferred to America. The other members agreed to these terms and elected him governor.