topic: American History- Winthrop, HutchinsonPolitical MoralityIn Webster’s dictionary, morality is defined as “principlesof right and wrong in conduct; ethics.” The principles ofmorality have countless times evolved over the ages.
In earliertimes, death was an easy penalty for many crimes. These crimestoday are considered minor and are penalized with a slap on thehand. Is this considered wrong? Who is the correct authority toconsult on what is right or wrong? In today’s society, two majorfactors concern how the way members of society act and behave.The first is our national government.
Members of our government in positions of authority decideeverything in our lives in the form of laws which determine ourbehavior. One of the most important documents written by ourgovernment is the Declaration of Independence. The monarchy wastaking away power from the colonists and putting more demands on.In return, the colonists declared their freedom from theirtyrant.Order now
In this document, it states, “All men are created equal;that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienablerights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit ofhappiness.” The great men who wrote this down had a strong senseof morals. They believed that men were given rights by God thatno one could take away. This is essential to the issue ofmorality because it determines the rights- that are agreed uponall- are wrong.
This brings us to religion. Religion is a major contributorto how we think and act because it mirrors our beliefs in what wehold as right or wrong. An example of this is the native tribesof africa and South America where a number of tribes practicecannibalism. While this is considered a sin in most christianreligions, the tribes have evolved into cannibalism as a way tosurvive in life and have no objections to their eating habits.
The problem arises when the line between government and religionis crossed. While religion does not have to power to punish onephysically, but rather soulfully of one has sinned. Thegovernment has the power to sentence punishment, yet should haveno power concerning God.Many different religions have evolved all over the world andin the process, have people have been prosecuted in their faith.
The first settlers in the new world came here to avoidprosecution from the powerful church/government of that time.Specifically, the Church of England headed by the king. Puritanleaders led their followers to a place where they could expresstheir religion with no fear of other faiths. One such leader wasJohn Winthrop.
John Winthrop was a powerful Puritan governor in the colonyof Massachusetts Bay. He believed that this was a calling fromGod for him to lead the new religious experiment-a covenant withGod to built a model for mankind. “We shall be a city upon thehill.” declared Winthrop.
As governor Winthrop held considerablepower. He distrusted the commoners and thought democracy was the”meanest and worst” forms of government. Anyone who broughttrouble or had indifferent thought were severely punished to”save their soul.” As one of his extensions of his powers hebanished Roger Williams, a popular Salem minister with radicalideas and an unrestrained tongue, and Mistress Anne Hutchinson, Astrong willed women who challenged the authority of the clergy bystating the truly saved need not bother to obey the laws of Godor man.
Several problems arise throughout this banishment. I am for a democratic society in which one can express his or herthoughts without the fear of prosecution. They did not have theluxury of this. The need for the expressment of ideas isessential for a growing environment.
If no growth is made, thenexpansion of the community is halted to a standstill. The limitof new idea’s must have a point, though. In recent news, theUnabomber has issued a ultimanium with his manuscript. In thepast, such a request would have been rediculous.
In hismanuscript he expresses his view on the evils of technology.While a citizen is entitled to free speech and press, threateningmurder is not such an option. There must be limits set. Incolonial times these limitations were set by John Winthrop.
Totalobedience was required and disobedience was not tolerated;therefore, Williams and Hutchinson were banished. I understandthe reasoning behind his motives, but his limits were set toolow. There was no room for free speech and thinking.Morals today have been declining and declining.
Asindependant thoughts have now been tolerated, so have thoughtsagainst basic humane rights. More today than any other periodmurders and rapists are being convicted and released from jail.Attendance at churches pail considerably from the height of it’spopularity. The people have better things to do and church isjust not the thing to do these days.
The government is a mess ofbureaucracy and misuse of power. In two words-Bob Packwood. Thenational deficit is at trillions and shows no signs ofimprovement. Money is spent in needless ways with lobbyistsbribing officials for personal causes that have no implicationswith the common people.
The cause of representing the commonpeople is practically non-existent. These are just some of theexamples of how the morals in today’s society have declined inthe cause of “personal rights.”