American Providentialism through Eras Centuries ago John Winthrop preached on board Arbella to the people full of hopes and desires for their new life. He talked about the beautiful Promised Land and the new paradise on earth. Winthrop’s motivational speech “A Model of Christian Charity” was supposed to encourage people on board Arbella to fulfill their destiny and create a pure society just like God intended them to. The inhabitants of the New World were chosen by God to create a new society which will serve as an example for the rest of the world.
John Winthrop insisted on people being united as one body in Christ through brotherly love for one another and through love for God. “[T]rue Christians are of one body in Christ (1 Cor. 12). Ye are the body of Christ and members of their part. All the parts of this body being thus united are made so contiguous in a special relation as they must needs partake of each other’s strength and infirmity; joy and sorrow, weal and woe. If one member suffers, all suffer with it, if one be in honor, all rejoice with it. [T]he ligaments of this body which knit together are love. (Winthrop, 4) At the very beginning of existing of America, the main task of its inhabitants was to be united. Religion was their knitting thread. Since they had not yet formed their laws, they lived according to laws of the Church. America’s destiny was to be “one nation under God” and God was leading them closer to the fulfillment of this destiny. “[W]hile the law did not abrogate [their] institutions, and the theocracy to be inaugurated did not supercede them, God was all the time educating them to broader views of their destiny … they were to perform as a chosen people among the nations of the earth. (Pierce, 3) God has chosen the people abroad Arbella to create a nation of all nations and He was along their side in all times. During the Civil War the knitting thread between the people was lost because of different views on the issue of slavery. The northern states wanted to abolish slavery while the southern states were against it. Since Americans could fulfill their destiny only if they are united, they saw the Civil War as the wrath of God towards them for being separated.
America was separated into the United States, or the Union, and Confederate States of America, or the Confederacy. “Both parties deprecated war, but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive, and the other would accept war rather than let it perish, and the war came. ” (Lincoln, 1) Lincoln thought that northern states wanted to destroy the Union and that they were ready to fight a war for that cause, while the southern states would do anything to keep the nation united, so they accepted the war to preserve the Union.
Lincoln believed that the war was the wrath sent from God because the nation was separated. Americans were supposed to be “one nation under God” and the war was the punishment for their separation. Lincoln believed in the destiny of his nation and was ready to do anything to unite it again. He agreed on abolishing the slavery to put the nation on the right track again so it can continue on fulfilling its destiny. Providentialism was America’s way of making people to be moral and to do good deeds. It was America’s way of keeping its states united.
From Winthrop, through Pierce, to Lincoln American scholars and politicians were promoting providentialism. Some of them maybe really believed America is a nation chosen by God, while some of them just used religion to promote their own politics. 628 Works Cited Lincoln, Abraham. (1865, March). Second Inaugural Address. Pdf. Pierce, George Foster. (1862, March). The Word of God a Nation’s Life: A Sermon, Preached before the Bible Convention of the Confederate States. Augusta, Georgia. Pdf. Winthrop, John. A Model of Christian Charity. 1630. Pdf.