The Constitution as an Instrument of National Salvation

The notion that America had a special role in God’s plan for the world had deep roots. In a 1630 sermon John Winthrop reminded the Puritan colonists that they were “a city upon a hill,” and in a 1783 circular letter George Washington called on Americans to congratulate themselves on “the lot which Providence has assigned us, whether we view it in a natural, a political, or moral point of light.” Americans took seriously the idea that God had chosen their nation to further his will on earth. Federalists appropriated the rhetoric of millennialism to persuade Americans that God’s continued blessing on the nation was contingent on their ratifying the Constitution, as the following documents show.