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A Conversation With The Author Of 'City On A Hill: A History Of American Exceptionalism'

"City on a Hill: A History of American Exceptionalism" examines the 1630 sermon "City on a Hill" by Massachusetts Bay Governor John Winthrop.
Emily Woodbury | St. Louis Public Radio
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"City on a Hill: A History of American Exceptionalism" examines the 1630 City on a Hill sermon by Massachusetts Bay Gov. John Winthrop.

When a country’s origin story is developed, whose stories get highlighted and whose get erased? How do we foster the ideals of a nation while recognizing that some perspectives have been trampled during the nation’s history?

Abram Van Engen is an associate professor of English and the interim director of American Culture Studies at Washington University.
Credit EVIE HEMPHILL | ST. LOUIS PUBLIC RADIO
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Abram Van Engen is an associate professor of English and the interim director of American Culture Studies at Washington University.

These are among several questions Abram Van Engen explores in his new book, “City on a Hill: A History of American Exceptionalism,” which examines the 1630 City on a Hill sermon by Massachusetts Bay Gov. John Winthrop.

On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, Sarah Fenske talked with Van Engen about how the sermon went from being lost to history for two centuries to being invoked by politicians on both sides of the aisle. They also discussed the conflict between the ideals of American exceptionalism and those of the America First agenda.

Van Engen is an associate professor of English and the interim director of American Culture Studies at Washington University.

Hear their conversation:

St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is hosted by Sarah Fenske and produced by Alex Heuer, Emily Woodbury, Evie Hemphill, Lara Hamdan and Joshua Phelps. The engineer is Aaron Doerr, and production assistance is provided by Charlie McDonald.

Send questions and comments about this story to feedback@stlpublicradio.org.

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Emily is the senior producer for "St. Louis on the Air" at St. Louis Public Radio.

Send questions and comments about this story to feedback@stlpublicradio.org.