John Winthrop was born in Edwardston, England on January 22nd 1588 to Adam Winthrop and Ann Browne. He was born into a wealthy family and acquired much of his wealth from his first wife Mary Forth. While in England, Winthrop practiced law, but was often criticized for his Puritan faith. Winthrop criticized the Church of England for it's old traditions that were reminiscent of the old catholic church. He thought the laws in England were too morally loose. For example, Winthrop felt the drinking laws and laws involving adultery were not strict enough. He is often given credit as being one of the first to champion moral and natural law over the law of the state.
Winthrop was on the same side of the argument that many Puritans held at the time. They felt England was moving towards godlessness. As a result of with their persecution, Puritans felt they must leave England to establish a new colony that would cater to their religious beliefs. Winthrop would give his speech describing the colony of Plymouth as "the city on the hill", which served as a religious example for others. Winthrop was elected the first governor of Massachusetts, even before he reached New England, after receiving permission to relocate from the Bay Colonies. One March 22nd 1629, Winthrop set out for the colonies where he would spend many years molding Massachusetts, establishing covenants. He was said to be an excellent leader. Under his rule, it was said that "2000 (English settlers) have done more in three years than others in seven times that space, and at the tenth of the expense".
Winthrop is also a rather strict leader who believed that the central government should have a tighter hold on society; the individual matters less than the whole. Many who argued were put in jail, banished, or fined by Winthrop as governor. The famous Anne Hutchinson was one example. Winthrop preferred the existence of a religious oligarchy, at the opposition of many of his political counterparts. While his way of governing was some times "iron handed", his letters often depicted him a loving in gentle man with good intentions. He was known as a great speaker and orator and many speeches focused on the dangers and punishments of sin. As a governor, Winthrop was elected for 12 terms. He died in Boston Massachusetts, on March 26th, 1649.