There are, broadly speaking, three kinds of American patriotism. There is Kentucky, which is the standard ethno-linguistic nationalism of soil and blood (think: age of Andrew Jackson). There is Virginia, which is a peculiar form of libertarianism-of-adoption: "we" have come here so that nobody else can boss "us" or those we adopt to become "us" around (think: Thomas Jefferson). And there is New England, which is the utopian nationalism of election: those who elect to come here and help "us" to build utopia are "us", and are very welcome as long as they commit to building the City Upon a Hill.
To no one's surprise, I like the third kind. And here is its root, in John Winthrop's Arabella Sermon:
John Winthrop: From "A Model of Christian Charity": "We are entered into covenant with Him for this work...
...We have taken out a commission. The Lord hath given us leave to draw our own articles. We have professed to enterprise these and those accounts, upon these and those ends. We have hereupon besought Him of favor and blessing. Now if the Lord shall please to hear us, and bring us in peace to the place we desire, then hath He ratified this covenant and sealed our commission, and will expect a strict performance of the articles contained in it. But if we shall neglect the observation of these articles which are the ends we have propounded, and, dissembling with our God, shall fall to embrace this present world and prosecute our carnal intentions, seeking great things for ourselves and our posterity, the Lord will surely break out in wrath against us, and be revenged of such a people, and make us know the price of the breach of such a covenant.
The only way to avoid this shipwreck is to follow the Counsel of Micah: "to do Justly, to love mercy, to walk humbly with our God". For this end:
- we must be knit together in this work as one man,
- we must entertain each other in brotherly affection,
- we must be willing to abridge our selves of our superfluities for the supply of others necessities,
- we must uphold a familiar commerce together in all meekness, gentleness, patience, and liberality,
- we must delight in each other, make others' conditions our own, rejoice together, mourn together, labour and suffer together,
always having before our eyes our commission and community in the work, our Community as members of the same body.
So shall we keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace. The Lord will be our God and delight to dwell among us as his own people, and will command a blessing upon us in all our ways, so that we shall see much more of his wisdom, power, goodness, and truth then formerly we have been acquainted with.
We shall find that the God of Israel is among us when ten of us shall be able to resist a thousand of our enemies, when he shall make us a praise and glory, that men shall say of succeeding plantations: "The Lord make it like that of New England." For we must Consider that we shall be as a City upon a Hill: the eyes of all people are upon us.
So that if we shall deal falsely with our god in this work we have undertaken, and so cause him to withdraw his present help from us, we shall be made a story and a byword through the world. We shall open the mouths of enemies to speak evil of the ways of God and all professors for Gods sake. We shall shame the faces of many of God's worthy servants, and cause their prayers to be turned into curses upon us, till we be consumed out of the good land whether we are going.
And to shut up this discourse with that exhortation of Moses, that faithful servant of the Lord, in his last farewell to Israel, Deut. 30:
Beloved there is now set before us life, and good, death and evil, in that we are commanded this day to love the Lord our God, and to love one another, to walk in his ways and, to keep his commandments and his ordinances, and his laws, and the articles of our covenant with him, that we may live and be multiplied, and that the Lord our God may bless us in the land whither we go to possess it...