A City upon a Hill is a phrase from the parable of Salt and Light in Jesus‘ Sermon on the Mount. In Matthew 5:14, he tells his listeners, “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.” It has become popular with American politicians. The term is also influenced by Plato’s Republic and the concept of the “good city” – a city-state governed by philosopher kings.
The phrase entered the American lexicon early in its history, in the Puritan John Winthrop‘s 1630 sermon “A Model of Christian Charity“. Still aboard the ship Arbella, Winthrop admonished the future Massachusetts Bay colonists that their new community would be a “city upon a hill”, watched by the world—which became the ideal the New England colonists placed upon their hilly capital city, Boston. Winthrop’s sermon gave rise to the widespread belief in American folklore that the United States of America is God’s country because metaphorically it is a Shining City upon a Hill, an early example of American exceptionalism.
I cannot remember one time seeing President Obama address the American People from the Oval Office
I could be wrong about this but it seems most of his speeches come from the White House corridor or the Rose Garden.