John Winthrop

Winthrop, John (1588–1649, governor of the Massachusetts Bay colony)

John Winthrop, 1588–1649, governor of the Massachusetts Bay colony, b. Edwardstone, near Groton, Suffolk, England. Of a landowning family, he studied at Trinity College, Cambridge, came into a family fortune, and became a government administrator with strong Puritan leanings. A member of the Massachusetts Bay Company, he led the group that arranged for the removal of the company's government to New England and was chosen (1629) governor of the proposed colony. He arrived (1630) in the ship Arbella at Salem and shortly founded on Shawmut peninsula the settlement that became Boston. He was—with the possible exception of John Cotton—the most distinguished citizen of Massachusetts Bay colony, serving as governor some 12 times. He helped to shape the theocratic policy of the colony and opposed broad democracy. It was while he was deputy governor and Sir Henry Vane (1613–62) was governor that Winthrop bitterly and successfully opposed the antinomian beliefs of Anne Hutchinson and her followers, who were supported by Vane. The force of his influence on the history of Massachusetts was enormous. Winthrop's journal, which was edited by J. K. Hosmer and published in 1908 as The History of New England from 1630 to 1649 is one of the most valuable of American historical sources.

See The Journal of John Winthrop, 1630–1649 (1996), abridged ed. by R. S. Dunn and L. Yeandle; R. C. Winthrop, Life and Letters of John Winthrop (2 vol., 1864–67; repr. 1971); Winthrop Papers (5 vol., 1929–47); biographies by J. H. Twichell (1892), E. S. Morgan (1958), G. R. Raymer (1963), and F. J. Bremer (2003); R. S. Dunn, Puritans and Yankees (1962, repr. 1971).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

John Winthrop: Selected full-text books and articles

John Winthrop: America's Forgotten Founding Father
Francis J. Bremer.
Oxford University Press, 2003
FREE! Winthrop's Journal, "History of New England," 1630-1649
James Kendall Hosmer; John Winthrop.
Charles Scribner's Sons, vol.1, 1908
FREE! Winthrop's Journal, "History of New England," 1630-1649
James Kendall Hosmer; John Winthrop.
Charles Scribner's Sons, vol.2, 1908
The American Puritans: Their Prose and Poetry
Perry Miller.
Doubleday, 1956
Librarian’s tip: Includes "Journal," "The Antinomian Crisis," "A Model of Christian Charity" [City upon a Hill], and "Speech to the General Court" by John Winthrop
Commonwealth History of Massachusetts
Albert Bushnell Hart.
States History Company, vol.1, 1927
Librarian’s tip: Chap. VII "John Winthrop, Commonwealth Builder (1588-1649)"
The Making of an American Thinking Class: Intellectuals and Intelligentsia in Puritan Massachusetts
Darren Staloff.
Oxford University Press, 1998
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of John Winthrop begins on p. 3
The Pequot War
Alfred A. Cave.
University of Massachusetts Press, 1996
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 3 "Pequots and Puritans: The Origins of the Conflict"
Puritanism and the Wilderness: The Intellectual Significance of the New England Frontier, 1629-1700
Peter N. Carroll.
Columbia University Press, 1969
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of John Winthrop begins on p. 7
The New England Mind: The Seventeenth Century
Perry Miller.
Harvard University Press, 1954
Librarian’s tip: Chap. XIV "The Social Covenant"
Puritanism in America, 1620-1750
Everett Emerson.
Twayne Publishers, 1977
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of John Winthrop begins on p. 34
A History of American Literature, 1607-1765
Moses Coit Tyler.
Cornell University Press, 1949
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of John Winthrop begins on p. 112
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