RadioBDC Logo
Come a Little Closer | Cage the Elephant Listen Live
THIS STORY HAS BEEN FORMATTED FOR EASY PRINTING
James Carroll

The harsh truth of the City on a Hill

By James Carroll
November 28, 2011
Text size +
  • E-mail
  • E-mail this article

    Invalid E-mail address
    Invalid E-mail address

    Sending your article

    Your article has been sent.

When John Winthrop delivered a sermon to his Puritan band before the Arbella made landfall in 1630, he set flying a beloved political cliché - one now elevating the resurgent campaign of Newt Gingrich. “For we must consider that we shall be as a city on a hill,’’ Winthrop declared. “The eyes of all people are upon us.’’ Recently, Gingrich screened his documentary, “A City Upon A Hill: The Spirit of American Exceptionalism,’’ at Harvard’s Kennedy School. This was an apt setting, since it was John Kennedy, speaking on the eve of his inauguration, who stamped the contemporary political lexicon with the image, a reference both to a saying of Jesus and mystic Jerusalem. But it was Ronald Reagan who made the phrase so dear to the conservative heart. He began and ended his presidency by invoking the “shining city,’’ always with a lump in his throat.

For more from BostonGlobe.com, sign up or log in below

To continue, please sign up or log in to BostonGlobe.com

Access the full articles and quality reporting of The Boston Globe at BostonGlobe.com

Sign up

Unlimited Access to BostonGlobe.com for 4 weeks for only 99¢.

Are you a Boston Globe home delivery subscriber?

Get FREE access as part of your print subscription.

BostonGlobe.com subscriber

Click to continue reading this article or to log in to BostonGlobe.com.
  • E-mail
  • E-mail this article

    Invalid E-mail address
    Invalid E-mail address

    Sending your article

    Your article has been sent.