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"City on the Hill"

Disenchantment with the political system developed by the Founding Fathers did not take long to develop, and in spite of two centuries of use, such concerns remain powerful today. The Puritan conception of the "City on the Hill' was both a vision of a new political order and a religious vision showing how God would make possible such a new order. The Puritans represented only one of the cultural groups that came together in the New world:

Culturally, the United States was founded by European immigrants seeking religious, political, or economic freedom. These settlers longed for an opportunity to construct a new Europe without the traditional constraints of the old Europe (Isaak 4).

The settlers embraced not only the idea of religious freedom but also certain conceptions they wanted as part of their governmental ideals:

The immigrants arrived full of optimism and strong beliefs and had the good fortune to have a brilliant group of Founding Fathers emerge to establish a democratic creed and constitution worthy of their progressive yet conservative faith (Isaak 4).

The U.S. Constitution was constructed as a series of compromises between the two major factions involved in its writing, the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists. The framers of the Constitution feared the potential "mischiefs" of faction and designed a governmental system that would balance competing interests and prevent the ascension of any one faction. A given faction might gain control of one of the branches of government or one level of government, but this would not enable that faction to control the entire system or to create a tyranny over other factions. The Constitution embodied a series of checks and balances to prevent one faction from gaining ascendancy over others. Madison spoke to the issue of factions in Federalist 10 and gives a clear definition of faction:

By a faction, I understand a number of citizens, whether amounting to a majorit...

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"City on the Hill". (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 13:14, April 21, 2019, from