Upon a Hill

From the very first days of European colonization, the future United-States have considered themselves to be a pioneer nation watched by the rest of the world. The biblical motif of the “shining city upon a hill” imposed the expectations of being a role model country. Major figures throughout American history have used it.

A City Upon A Hill (57)

This phrase describes the belief held by many Americans that their country had an exceptional role to play ever since it existed. It should serve as a role model to the whole world. The phrase is originally found in the Gospel of Matthew, where Jesus declares that “a city on a hill cannot be hidden”. The first governor of Boston, John Winthrop (1587-1649), first used it, before it was quoted by Presidents Kennedy and Reagan, and by Barack Obama, in a speech in Boston in 2006.


Image of Barak Obama giving a speech at Boston University on June 2, 2006.