They sought to build their City Upon a Hill — and do not doubt that they understood every inch of that climb. They endured it with a patience worthy of the continent they had settled and, as their proud descendant, it is my duty to understand.


for wee must Consider that wee shall be as a Citty upon a Hill, the eies of all people are uppon us; soe that if wee shall deale falsely with our god in this worke wee have undertaken and soe cause him to withdrawe his present help from us, wee shall be made a story and a byword through the world, wee shall open the mouthes of enemies to speake evill of the wayes of god and all professours for Gods sake; wee shall shame the faces of many of gods worthy servants, and cause theire prayers to be turned into Cursses upon us till wee be consumed out of the good land whether wee are going…


Four years after John Winthrop gave that sermon aboard the Arabella, Thomas Hastings arrived in the Bay Colony aboard the Elizabeth. Do not think, Dear Reader, that he sought anything less than such a challenge as this preacher intoned upon the raging swells and frigid spray. Do not think, Dear Reader, that my forebear’s idea of paradise was some tawdry Big Rock Candy Mountain, sweet and pliant and giving. No! It was a Paradise that had to be regain’d!


Plymouth Plantation was carved from granite with bare hands and scant wooden tools! Plymouth Plantation had no slave labor, only God’s labor and none of the needlepoint and claret and evenings around the pianoforte spent reading novels with Mammy stroking your hair! All of that is a lost world, gone over to an Eastern Empire that has to burn its food to swallow it, but Plymouth Plantation is alive!


God’s country, I assure you emigrants, you readers, you pie-oh-neeeers, will not be kind, and it will deal with fools and amateurs most harshly. But God’s country yields its bounty — the vastest, richest bounty man or beast has ever known — to those enterprising enough to reach it. God’s country first yielded itself to man’s absorbing vision when he parted the Atlantic Ocean; however, I tell you that the Promised Land lies beyond the Continental Divide. And, God, acting as his very own Moses, has provided you, Dear Reader, with the Great Southern Pass, found at the 42nd parallel.


Just as my forebears believed a soul which knew itself to be Elect would show itself in a lifetime of righteousness, I have mapped the mountains well enough to see they are a soul’s true test: the Elect will show themselves in daring and they will show themselves in the grit, the gumption, and — Jesus Christ, oh Lord — the faith to cross to that Other Side.


In fact, if you are reading me at all, I am telling you absolutely nothing you don’t already know! The challenge of America is the challenge of becoming a pioneer! And you, pie-oh-neeeers, know damn well what a pioneer does: HE GETS THERE FIRST.


And that, Dear Reader, is where the shortcut comes in.