"it was his mission to foretell a high and glorious destiny for the newly gathered people of the Lord"
Preaching to the newly-arrived Puritan settlers
Public DomainPreaching to the newly-arrived Puritan settlers - Credit: Antonio Gisbert
Columbia, the personification of America, spreads her civilizing light across the continent's
Public DomainColumbia, the personification of America, spreads her civilizing light across the continent's "savage" wastes - Credit: John Gast

In fact, Puritan settlers already felt that the mission to establish an earthly kingdom of God had failed. Human frailties and worldliness, they believed, had thwarted the grand visions of the colony’s founders, and far from flattering the congregation’s vanity in the way that Dimmesdale is here said to do, sermons were typically filled with dire warnings of the destruction that would fall on the settlers’ heads if they did not turn back to the path of righteousness. It was not until Hawthorne’s own time, when the idea of Manifest Destiny took hold, that preachers sought to uplift the people by declaring that they were paving the road to a new heaven on earth.