If you had been a member of the General Court, how would the sermon Theopolis Americana have influenced your politics? The book Theopolis Americana was a sermon written by Cotton Mather. This book was an extended interpretation of the Bible verse Revelation 21:21, here is what it says: “The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl. The great street of the city was of gold, as pure as transparent glass.” According to Wikipedia, Cotton Mather was “a New England Puritan child prodigy, clergyman, theologian, and writer. Beginning his Harvard College undergraduate education at age twelve, he is the youngest person ever to be admitted there.”

Cotton Mather wrote this sermon to Massachusetts General Assembly (also known as the General Court). He was hoping that this sermon would persuade the General Court into changing how they viewed politics, how they change laws, and he was even hoping that he would change their way of thinking. His sermon was kind of messy and in some parts his ideas were way too extreme to be taken seriously (besides a few good points found in the sermon). The reason for this was that, like many other sermons in his day, he was trying to be general and vague. He tried to keep it civil because he could not afford to divide up the legislators by being more specific than need be. Many pastors may alienate a large amount of the congregation, and they may try to get him fired, or they might leave the church, reducing the income of the church, and this was something he could not afford.

Mather uses many criticisms in his sermon, like the free market. Many of his criticisms were heard of, or maybe even dealt with. Many of the criticisms include contract violations, commercial dishonesty, business corruption, and this includes the kidnapping of African slaves. He used Richard Baxter quotes to enforce his idea of how horrible it was to kidnap people from another country and force them to become slaves. And contract violations were already dealt with in England for centuries by the common law. Like I said, the General Court already knew of these criticisms, and probably just ignored him. He also describes his extreme dislike of alcohol and the excessive use of it. He explains that he is not against the use of alcohol, or that he encourages it, he does not do any of this. He just says that he does not like the excessive use of it, but he does not want to ban it, he never says this. However, he never gives an explanation for the excessive use of alcohol, and he did not tell the legislator what to do about it. He just simply states that he dislikes the excessive use of it, and expects the General Court to solve it themselves, depending on how they liked his sermon.

Honestly, if I were on the General Court, I would not have cared. The General Court was already aware of the things he criticized, and were doing what they could to stop it. He just told them things they did not already know.