Robert Charles Winthrop (May 12, 1809 to November 16, 1894) was an American lawyer, politician, and philanthropist who at one point in his political career rose to the office of Speaker of the United States House of Representatives. Like most who lived during the Founding Era of the United States, Winthrop was concerned about the moral character of America’s development. As was characteristic of many Founding Fathers, Winthrop involved himself in the advancement of Christianity in America. He believed obedience to Scripture produced the highest good in human culture, as aptly expressed in his memorable statement: “Men . . . must necessarily be controlled, either by a power within them, or by a power without them; either by the word of God, or by the strong-arm of man; either by the Bible, or by the bayonet.”

Like other post series, “Speaker Robert Winthrop—Christianizing Culture” is intended to demonstrate—through primary documents—that America’s Founding Fathers bequeathed to their successors a Christian nation. For additional primary sources related to the Christian convictions of House Speaker Robert Winthrop, please see a collection of his speeches and writings:

Robert Winthrop, Addresses and Speeches on Various Occasions (Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1852)
House Speaker Robert Winthrop—Christianizing Culture

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