They weren't soldiers. They were not emissaries of a foreign government. They were not particularly well provided with supplies. And at least half of them were Separatists -- that is to say, radical Protestants who were religious exiles who had been living in Leiden in the Dutch Republic. They weren't the people you would automatically expect to be founding a new outpost of the British Empire. Narrator : They were in many ways the least likely of task forces for establishing a permanent English presence in the New World. Fewer than 50 of the passengers were adult men -- many well past their physical prime -- at least 30 were children -- and nearly 20 were women -- including three expectant mothers.
By the time they set sail, England had still not succeeded in establishing a truly viable colony on the shores of the New World -- and their chances of survival, let alone success, were all but nil. Sue Allan, Writer : When you look at Jamestown Virginia, by they'd pumped in something like 8, colonists there, and, yet, they were struggling to keep their numbers above a thousand.
The death rate was awful. Jill Lepore, Historian : They don't register at all numerically. It's a tiny handful of people -- many of whom don't survive. We're thinking about migration to the Americas, in the 17th and 18th century, we're talking about 10 million Africans, for instance -- as against this tiny handful of Englishmen and women? The fascinating thing, then, about the Pilgrim story is how this tiny group of people managed to get by, and managed to tell the story in such a way as to erase that whole other history.
It became our story of national origins. Narrator : Somehow with the passage of time, the arrival of this frail unlikely band would come to be seen as the true founding moment of America -- and the story of their coming enshrined as the quintessential myth of American origins: commemorated each year on the fourth Thursday in November at Thanksgiving -- and embodied in a handful of iconic and instantly recognizable images -- including a rock and a ship -- and a feast that almost certainly never took place as we imagine it did.
Nathaniel Philbrick, Writer : I think we feel that we're such a new country that we need to know how it all began. We need that beginning moment, and the Pilgrims serve that purpose. But what people forget is that it wasn't all fated. These were normal people, under extraordinary circumstances, and they were making it up as they went along. And it ends up being as much a story of survival as it is a story of origins. Or how utterly their quest for a godly republic would transform the world they were sailing towards -- the searchers themselves -- and the nation that would rise up long after they were gone -- consecrated to their memory.
Kathleen Donegan, Literary Critic : Because the Pilgrims have been so enshrined in the national imagination, because they've meant so much in what we've told ourselves about who we are as Americans,. What it was about these people, what it was about their history that we wanted to see reflected in our own national image. There's been a tremendous amount of memory produced around the Pilgrims.
But there's also been a lot of forgetting. You know, that memory is very selective. And so to look at what's been remembered, and let that shed light on what's been forgotten is an important exercise when we're thinking about something that has been so central to our national imagination. Bernard Bailyn, Historian : The difference is Bradford. Not simply because he was the governor for many, many years, but because of his personal qualities. He was a person of very delicate sensibilities and very keen perceptions, and he watched the flutterings of their little conventicle, and its ups and downs, with the greatest concern, and registered it in this wonderful prose.
Narrator : To a remarkable degree, we would scarcely remember the Pilgrims at all, and certainly not remember them as we do, were it not for the unusual man who came to lead them in the New World and the unusual book he left behind -- a luminous text unlike any other account of early American settlement, extraordinary both in what it says and in what it passes over in silence. That book, more than anything, is a kind of bible in its own way. It's steeped in the Bible, obviously, when it comes to its language. But when it comes to the history of Plymouth Colony, it is the text.
And there's stuff there that is very dark and turbulent. Narrator : He labored over the manuscript for more than 20 years -- "scribbled writings," he said, "pieced up in times of leisure," stolen from his duties as governor, and written in the third person as if to a far distant future. He left the manuscript to his sons and heirs the day he died in along with a handful of simple poems, written in the first person.
The book itself almost never came down to posterity. Kathleen Donegan, Literary Critic : In Bradford's role as a historian, he has the possibility of success because he has the possibility to shape that history. He gets to write for posterity; he gets to shape the story. Bradford is clearly writing for a future. Plymouth, he understands, will have its future in its history, and he's the one who's creating that history.
It's about miles north of London. It was an area where religious divisions were particularly conspicuous, where there was still quite a large number of lingering Roman Catholics, an area which had recently been evangelized by radical Protestantism. Sue Allan, Writer : You have the right people, at the right time, in the right area, with the same ideas.
And I think that's what happened up here, in this part of the country. Got John Robinson at Gainsborough. You've got William Brewster there at Scrooby. You have Richard Clifton here at Babworth. You have William Bradford in Austerfield, so spiritually strong and so young.
They supported each other, and I think that is why it took off here, and maybe not in other places. Narrator : He was born in the tiny village of Austerfield, in south Yorkshire, and baptized, on March 19th, in the ancient stone church of St. Helena's -- a three-mile walk down a path called Low Common Lane -- from the village of Scrooby. With farmland of their own and a sturdy house, his family though far from wealthy were a far from poor -- especially compared with their neighbors -- tenant farmers and landless field hands, for the most part.
But his childhood would be blighted by the death of virtually everyone close to him: his father, William, when he was one. His grandfather, William, when he was six. His mother, Alice, when he was seven. His sister, Alice, and his grandfather, John Hanson, when he was He was sent to live with his uncle, Robert, who hoped he would prove useful working in the fields. By then, his family's economic security had been badly shaken by four failed harvests in a row -- the Great Death of the 's and by the devastating depression that followed.
There was something very close to famine. So it was a very uncertain world, in which even people from the yeomanry -- as the Pilgrims were -- were always worried they were about to slip back into this state of near-destitution in which many people lived. Narrator : Lonely and intelligent, in a world that felt increasingly precarious and unmoored to him, he fell ill when he was 12, with what he called a "long sickness" -- which took him from the fields -- kept him bedridden for months -- and drove him to seek solace in the Bible.
The reading of scriptures he said, made a great impression upon him, and the more he read, the more troubled he became at the gulf between the world he saw around him, and the simplicity and purity of the gospel. Nathaniel Philbrick, Writer : He had this profound sense as a year-old that the congregation he was a part of was corrupt, that the Church was moving them in a direction that was not right, that they prayed to the depraved beliefs of mortal men that were moving them away from God.
And so this was a deep conviction. And I think there you have the beginnings of a very complex, inward-looking person who was improbably preparing for the ultimate journey. Narrator : When he was well again, he went with a friend to All Saint's Church at Babworth, 10 miles away, to hear the "illuminating ministry" of a forward-thinking Puritan preacher, named Richard Clyfton.
Not long after, he found his way down Low Common Lane, to the home of William Brewster -- the warm-hearted Cambridge-educated postmaster and bailiff of Scrooby Manor -- where he came to feel he had found a spiritual home -- and where each week, a private congregation gathered to hear Richard Clyfton -- and another charismatic minister, named John Robinson -- preach on the need to purify worship of everything worldly -- of anything not contained in scripture. Susan Hardman Moore, Historian : I think the sense of faithfulness to Scripture is at the heart of it.
They want to go right back to the roots and strip away all the human accretions that have come into the worship and the life of the Church, and get back to a primitive purity. And it's no accident that the larger movement from which the Separatists came were called Puritans by their opponents because that's what they were campaigning for -- greater purity, greater faithfulness to what they believed they read in Scripture.
Narrator : Nothing he read made a deeper impression on him than a passage from the book of St. Matthew, in which Christ explains to his disciples where the true church lies. Young William Bradford Josh Webb : For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.
Pauline Croft, Historian : That's obviously the key Separatist text -- that Christ will be with you without a bishop; without a church; without any clear ecclesiastical organization. And that prayer, conversion, commitment is enough for the presence of Christ. That's an extraordinarily radical text when you think about it.
Nathaniel Philbrick, Writer : It's a powerful idea to think that you can, in an unmediated way, see God. The Bible is your window in.
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And to have a bishop or a pope telling you what to do is just getting in the way, is so much fallen static. And it's a powerful idea, and I think it's particularly powerful for someone like Bradford, who finds himself alone at And to think that God is that accessible -- that if he can find just a few others, and have a congregation of people on the same wavelength, that they can find their way to God, that's what you need.
That's all you need. And you're willing to go to the ends of the Earth literally, if you know that you will be following that path. Narrator : By , he was fully committed to the radical idea that the true love of God might mean separating from the Church of England altogether.
Sue Allan, Writer : And that's when the real trouble begins. Because you look at who's the head of the only Church in England, the head of the Church from Henry's time is the monarch. It's not just the Church -- it's the monarch that you're flying in the face of.
That's what makes this so dangerous, and so worrying for the authorities. Because if you're going to make a stand on religion and get away with it, then what else are you going to make a stand on? Michael Braddick, Historian : The issues at stake are literally more important than life and death -- it's your eternal life or your eternal death.
And if your monarch is jeopardizing your eternal life, you're a very unreliable subject. Because anyone who separates from the Church, is not just separating from the Church, but they're separating from royal authority. And that's potentially very dangerous. Sue Allan, Writer : Bottom line, what was at stake?
Well, their lives. You can punish somebody. For not attending a church, you can be fined. And it was 20 pounds in those days -- about 9, pounds in today's money. That's a lot of money -- just for not going to church. If you persisted, then you could be imprisoned, so you could think about it. And Elizabeth, after the Act Against Puritans in , had made the next step banishment. But I think, with James, the next step could have been death for these people. He was newly to the throne -- not popular. He wasn't going to have any dissenters. So I really think that these folk were risking everything.
Susan Hardman Moore, Historian : And in areas like this, where people had been, perhaps, able to get away with things, there was a new drive to make sure that everyone conformed to the Church of England. And there were explicit rules that said you couldn't have private religious meetings in houses. Ministers should not convene private groups of people. These conventicles were judged illegal and subversive to order in the realm. And for that reason, a network of people here came to feel that they were under pressure. Narrator : In the fall of , when William Brewster himself was fined, and threatened with imprisonment -- it was clear that only one option remained.
To worship God as they saw fit, they must separate not only from the English church, but from England altogether. It was a place of refuge for evangelicals in a time of threat and challenge. So you can see the attraction. From here to the Humber Estuary and to Amsterdam is not very far. Sue Allan, Writer : But, they couldn't just leave the country. Because you needed permission to pass port. And dissenters weren't going to get permission to leave the country. They'd have to escape from their own country. Narrator : A first desperate attempt to flee ended in disaster when the English sea captain they had hired betrayed them to the authorities.
Eight months later, on a cloud-darkened evening in the spring of , they tried again -- some fleeing by barge down the Trent and the Humber towards Hull -- where this time 16 of the men -- including year-old William Bradford -- managed to board a Dutch ship and get away to sea -- one step ahead of the searchers in pursuit -- who arrested the terrified women and children, and carted them off to jail. They were soon released; and over the next year, in groups of two and three, quietly made their way across the North Sea to Amsterdam, and joined their friends and family members in exile.
For James, for the monarchy, it was "Let them go there, if that's where they're happy, no reason why they shouldn't go there. The Dutch are our allies, we've been fighting on the side of the Dutch. If you want to live there, fair enough. Good riddance. Sue Allan, Writer : These folk mainly were tied to the land. They were used to England. As far as we know, only William Brewster spoke the language, and you're going to a country where you don't speak the language, you don't know the customs.
How are you going to survive? And there was no coming back. Narrator : In -- fearing the congregation would come apart in the sprawling Dutch metropolis -- William Brewster and John Robinson led their people 22 miles south to the city of Leiden -- a university town, and the bustling heart of the Dutch textile industry.
Nathaniel Philbrick, Writer : Holland was a completely different environment from what they were used to, and because they were foreigners, they ended up getting really lousy jobs. Instead of farms they ended up basically in little factories, creating clothing, and they would work, literally, from dawn till dusk. A bell would go off in the morning, and they'd work to the very end of the day -- often with their children.
Narrator : With no family of his own, William Bradford found lodgings in a poor neighborhood called Stink Alley until, at 21, he was able to set up shop in a small house of his own, toiling six and sometimes seven days a week as weaver. Pauline Croft, Historian : It's clear that many of them found it very harsh: the climate was far harsher than they'd expected; the difficulties that they encountered were much greater.
Narrator : But for all the trials and hardship, they would look back these on years with an almost rapturous longing and nostalgia -- for the world they created around them there, free for the first time to worship as they wished, in accordance with God's will, unmolested. William Bradford Roger Rees : Such was the true piety, the humble zeal, and fervent love, of this people whilst they thus lived together towards God and his ways, and the single heartedness and sincere affection one towards another, that they came as near the primitive pattern of the first churches, as any other church of these latter times have done.
Susan Hardman Moore, Historian : I think there's something about what you might call the "glory days" in Leiden. The community that John Robinson builds around himself -- his house, the sort of cottages surrounding it, the meeting hall -- it's very much based on what they read in the letters of the early Churches -- Paul's letters in the New Testament -- about what it means to be a community in the body of Christ.
They would take a vision of what that had been for them in Leiden across the Atlantic to the New World. Narrator : In , William Bradford married a young English woman named Dorothy May -- not in a religious service performed in a church, but in a civil ceremony at Leiden's grand city hall -- in accordance with Dutch custom, and because the Separatists found no precedent in the Bible for church ordained weddings. It was the beginning of the separation of church and state -- another custom they would take with them across the Atlantic -- sooner than anyone could have imagined, as by it had begun to be clear that Leiden was not the promised land after all.
Nathaniel Philbrick, Writer : Their biggest concern after a decade in this foreign land was that their children were becoming Dutch, and these people had decided to leave England for their religious beliefs, but they were still very proud of their English heritage. And so if we stay in Holland, we will lose the identity that is so essential to who we are.
They were also fearful that the Spanish were about to attack again. Narrator : In late November , a brilliant blue-green comet appeared in the night skies. A great religious conflict, involving all the great powers of Europe -- which Protestants such as the Pilgrims saw as a great confrontation between good, in the shape of Protestant Christianity, and evil, in the shape of Roman Catholicism. And this, in the eyes of many, was a cataclysmic global confrontation, which might very well lead to the end of the world.
Things were that urgent. The stakes were that high. Nathaniel Philbrick, Writer : Everything seemed to be on the edge of complete meltdown. And so they decided it's time to pull the ripcord once again, even if it meant leaving everything they had known all their lives. Sue Allan, Writer : But where do you go? You're Englishmen, after all, but you can't go back to England. And I think that's why they plumped for the New World. If you can't go back to England, at least maybe they could the find the freedom they're looking for there.
Narrator : After weighing and rejecting numerous options, they settled in the end on an area at the mouth of the Hudson River -- near present day New York -- in the northern most part of the English colony founded by the Virginia Company, then set out to try and get a legal charter, and permission to emigrate. Nathaniel Philbrick, Writer : What they had to do to get there required an awful lot of them.
They really had to figure out how they were going to do this. And like many people from cults, they were really naive when it came to the rest of the world. And so it meant that they were very prone to being duped when it came to trying to figure out, "How are we going to do this? Who are we going to hire? Who's going to be our military officer? Where are we going to find a ship? Who's going to finance this endeavor? And so they had this huge list of problems. Narrator : They had all but despaired of finding anyone willing to finance the hugely costly, high risk undertaking, when in early , they were approached in Leiden by a year-old broker from London named Thomas Weston -- who offered to organize financing for the expedition through a group called the Fellowship of the Merchant Adventurers.
Susan Hardman Moore, Historian : And that is the beginning of all sorts of trouble for them! The right time to make that westward crossing of the Atlantic is to set out in the spring. So the Pilgrims get themselves ready in Leiden, and it's June when they discover that Weston hasn't organized any transport. Narrator : To their deep dismay, Weston also now informed them that the investors were getting cold feet and insisting that non-Separatist outsiders go along with them.
The prospect was appalling -- but there was nothing they could do. On July 22nd, they bid a heart-wrenching farewell to those staying behind, including Pastor Robinson, who, it was decided, would remain in Leiden with the main congregation until a secure beachhead had been established.
In anguish, William and Dorothy Bradford left their three-year-old son, John, in the care of relatives. John Demos, Historian : There was deep sorrow at the bottom of this decision for many of them. As they got on the boat, they knew, at least most of them, had no chance to come back. They were never going to see the people who had meant most to them up to that point.
They were going to something they could barely imagine. William Bradford Roger Rees : And so they left that goodly and pleasant city which had been their resting place for near twelve years; but they knew they were pilgrims, and looked not much on those things, but lift up their eyes to the heavens, their dearest country, and quieted their spirits. And with the "Strangers" -- the motley assortment of non-Separatist recruits the investors had insisted go with them.
Nathaniel Philbrick, Writer : Suddenly these Leideners, who had spent 10 years cultivating their own spiritual and very inward bond, found themselves on a ship -- sharing their space with the "Strangers," who came from a completely different place with the understanding that: "We're not just sharing the ship with them, we're gonna be living with these people for the foreseeable future. Susan Hardman Moore, Historian : It sprang leaks like a sieve.
Many had to be left behind. When all was said and done, there were only passengers on board -- only half of whom were members of the original Leiden congregation. And, it was far too late in the year. If you wanted to go to America, to Virginia or New England, you should try to leave in February or March, at the latest, so you could get there in the spring, and give yourself a full spring and summer to become accustomed to the new world and to do all the things you had to do before the winter set in.
In fact, of course, they ended up leaving in September, which was about as bad as it could be. Edward Winslow, a year-old printer traveling with his wife, Elizabeth, never forgot the moment they set sail. Edward Winslow actor, audio : Wednesday, the sixth of September, the winds coming east north east, a fine small gale, we loosed from Plymouth, having been kindly entertained and courteously used by divers friends there dwelling.
It was starting to gale. William Bradford remembered her finally setting forth under a "prosperous wind.
The congregation did not wish, however, to return to persecution in England. In London, the Scrooby congregation found investors from the Virginia Company who wanted to send settlers to the New World for harvesting its resources for a profit. In , Bradford and about one hundred others sailed on the Mayflower with plans to settle in the area that would become Virginia. In November they arrived around present-day Cape Cod , Massachusetts , and by December they landed at Plymouth Bay and settled for the winter.
At Plymouth Bay, the Pilgrims were outside the area where the Virginia Company had power to establish colonies. See Colonization. This forced the Pilgrims to create their own government, which they did under a legal agreement called the Mayflower Compact. Half of the colonists at Plymouth died during the winter of , including Governor John Carver c. The colonists elected Bradford to be their new governor. Bradford organized the colonists to build a community, find food, and negotiate with Native Americans as necessary.
He also had responsibility for overseeing justice and managing the colony's business affairs. Bradford and the colonists met a Native American named Squanto, who had spent some time in England and spoke English. Squanto ? Bradford negotiated with the chief of the local Wampanoag tribe for a peace treaty that lasted four decades.
Over the years under Bradford's guidance, Plymouth Colony survived early hardships and became a permanent settlement. The investors did not find it as profitable as other New World colonies. Still Plymouth Colony managed to pay off its initial debt by In his later years, Bradford taught himself how to read the Bible in Hebrew, and he studied Greek, classical poetry, and philosophy. The book reflects Bradford's transition from viewing Native Americans as savages to respecting them.
Toward the end of his life, Bradford thought that the colonists should purchase native lands that they wished to use, an idea that other colonists rejected. Plymouth Colony. William Bradford. W illiam Bradford was the leader of a religious group called the Pilgrims, who embarked on the famous voyage to the New World the European term for North America and South America on board the ship Mayflower. In , after landing on the northeast coast of present-day Massachusetts, the Pilgrims established Plymouth Colony. When the first elected governor, John Carver, died, Bradford took his place. As governor, Bradford grappled with a terrible famine an extreme scarcity of food and forged relations with local Native Americans.
Bradford's time in office is considered an example of effective early American politics. Although he practiced absolute authority, he was not a tyrant a ruler who exercises absolute power brutally. In addition to being the governor of Plymouth, Bradford was also an important religious leader and its principal historian. He wrote Of Plymouth Plantation , which remains a valuable source of information about life in colonial America.
William Bradford: Plymouth's Faithful Pilgrim
William Bradford was born in at Austerfield, Yorkshire, in England. His father was William Bradford, a wealthy landowner. His mother, Alice, was the daughter of John Hanson, a village shopkeeper. He was their third child and only son. When his father died on July 15, , Bradford inherited an ample fortune. After his mother died a few years later, he was left in the care of his grandfather and uncles.
Bradford's uncles taught him how to farm, and he probably planned to take over his father's estate one day. When he was twelve years old, however, he became deeply involved in religion. Against the wishes of his family he joined a religious group that called themselves the Nonconformists—later known as Puritans—because they refused to conform to the laws of the Church of England the official religion of England, also known as the Anglican Church. Their meetings, which were conducted by the Reverend Richard Clyfton, took place in the house of a local postmaster, William Brewster , in Scrooby, Nottinghamshire.
At that time England was at the height of the Protestant Reformation, a religious revolution within the Roman Catholic Church that began sweeping across Western Europe in the previous century. The Protestant Reformation was started by German theologian Martin Luther , who accused Catholic leaders of corruption and misuse of power. By the early s the spirit of reform had also influenced Protestant groups who were intent on self-purification freeing themselves as individuals from sin.
The Nonconformists believed the Church of England had become far too corrupt to benefit from reforms. They also feared that the king, Charles I, was sympathetic to Catholics. Because of these beliefs, the Nonconformists decided to separate from the Church of England. Since this was considered an act of treason, the Nonconformists were forced to leave England or be punished by imprisonment or even death.
In Bradford joined their migration to Amsterdam, Holland. A year later the Nonconformists settled in Leiden, the Netherlands, where they were allowed to practice their religion freely. By Bradford was old enough to convert his inheritance into cash. Afterwards, he bought a loom a frame or machine used to weave cloth and went into the textile fabric or cloth trade. In Bradford married Dorothy Day and settled in Leiden. The Nonconformists remained in Leiden for only a short time. Many younger members, including Bradford, found that making a living was very difficult, and they searched for an area where they could practice their religion and also keep their English traditions and language, even if it meant living under English rule.
They petitioned the Virginia Company a private organization that promoted colonization of the Virginia territory of London, England, and were granted a patent an official document giving a right or privilege for land in the Virginia territory. Along the way the Mayflower encountered stormy weather, and the Pilgrims never arrived in Virginia.
Instead they anchored the ship in Cape Cod harbor off the coast of present-day Massachusetts , a spot that was far north of their original destination. Since that land had not been legally granted to them, Bradford and the Pilgrims drafted and signed the Mayflower Compact in November , a document that claimed ownership of the area. Because the Pilgrims accounted for only forty percent of the people aboard the ship, the agreement also set out to guarantee security against dissension discord or quarreling with the rest of the passengers.
These settlers, men such as Miles Standish , were outsiders whom the Pilgrims called "strangers. Although the Mayflower Compact is considered the first democracy established by Europeans in North America there is little proof to support this claim. Leaving the Mayflower in a small boat, they entered the harbor, which they called Plymouth harbor, and landed near a rock that is now known as Plymouth Rock. The Pilgrims settled their new colony in December and elected Carver as their first governor. After Carver died in April , Bradford was immediately chosen to take his place.
He would be reelected thirty times between and During this period, Bradford repeatedly tried to quit the governorship, but he was such an effective and beloved leader that colonists always wanted him to remain in office. Tragically, Bradford's wife drowned in Cape Cod harbor on December 7, Three years later he was remarried, to a woman named Alice Carpenter Southworth. Conditions in Plymouth were harsh, and Bradford did all he could as governor to save the colony from disaster.
The Pilgrims were devastated by sickness—over half of the population perished—and only a few men were left to do the farming for the colony. Their first winter, in —21, was especially bleak. In the spring the local Wampanoag tribe, led by Chief Massasoit see entry , taught the Pilgrims how to plant crops such as barley, peas, and corn.
Massasoit asked Squanto, another prominent Wampanoag who spoke the English language , to head the effort to help the colonists. As a teenager Squanto was kidnapped and sold into slavery in Spain, then eventually made his way to England, where he spent a few years. Squanto is remembered today as the person who saved the Pilgrims from starvation, and he is closely associated with.
He gave a detailed account of the Pilgrims' journey to Plymouth and the subsequent hardships they faced in the New World. It is said that Bradford wrote the history because Massachusetts Bay colonist John Winthrop see entry began writing a similar document in about the Puritan migration. Bradford described the early optimism and faith of the Pilgrims and their eventual corruption by adverse forces.
Yet the Pilgrims' battle against evil did not end when they reached the New World. In the opening part of his work, Bradford mentions the "wars and oppositions" that "Satan hath raised, maintained and continued against the saints" in the Plymouth Colony. By now the Pilgrims had experienced famine and the treachery of "merchant adventurers," businessmen who took advantage of the colonists. They also had conflicts with Native Americans. The Pequot War of became a major turning point: New England colonists formed an alliance with the Narragansett tribe and attacked a Pequot fort, killing four hundred Pequots in their sleep.
Over time, Bradford came to realize that evil comes from people themselves and not simply through the magical power of Satan. He wrote that the Pilgrims had arrived in the New World "knit together as a body in a most strict and sacred bond and covenant of the Lord. After a bountiful harvest in the fall, the Pilgrims and Wampanoags celebrated the "first Thanksgiving.
Pilgrim leaders paid attention to immediate needs rather than long-term plans. Yet they were not completely unskilled in politics and business, having gained experience in self-government through their handling of church affairs. Bradford regarded Plymouth as the site of the New World church for Nonconformists who remained in Europe.
Therefore, despite extreme food shortages, he invited more Nonconformists to move to Plymouth from Leiden. As the colony grew, Bradford recognized the need to befriend more local Native Americans. Although Bradford and the Pilgrims had formed an alliance with Massasoit, who was highly regarded by area tribes, the Pilgrims were threatened by the Narragansett tribe. Further conflict came when Massasoit warned that a group of natives was planning to attack the colonists. On the advice of Massasoit, the troublemakers were rounded up and killed.
Bradford never wanted a confrontation with Native Americans, since by keeping good relations with them he was able to alleviate the famine. He eventually achieved peaceful trading relationships with the natives and increased the food supply in Plymouth. Nevertheless this harmony was disturbed when the colonists found themselves in the middle of battles between the Narragansetts and the Mohegans. Tensions continued to mount, and in the Pequot War the New England colonies united with the Narragansetts to attack a Pequot fort at Mystic, Connecticut.
As a result, four hundred Pequots were killed in their sleep. During their first winter in the Plymouth Colony —21 , the Pilgrims were devastated by sickness—over half of the population perished—and only a few men were left to do the farming for the colony. In the spring the local Wampanoag tribe, led by Chief Massasoit, taught the Pilgrims how to plant crops such as barley, peas, and corn.
The film is available on videocassette. The Native Americans were not the only group that caused problems for the upright Pilgrims at Plymouth. They also had to contend with the "strangers," or those who were not Pilgrims. Many of these men came over on the Mayflower as servants, and others were already in North America. Known also as "merchant adventurers," they represented businessmen in London. However, many "merchant adventurers," who had names like "Oldham the mad trader" and "Lyford the lewd parson," were criminals and tried to cheat the colonists.
Bradford dealt with these men the best he could, usually forgiving their crimes. In , Bradford made a business deal that benefitted the entire colony. His plan called for the Pilgrims to buy out the merchant adventurers and divide their property evenly among the colonists.
As a result, the outcast merchants became part of the Pilgrim society and Bradford labeled them "Old Comers. These twelve men, known as the "Undertakers," began engaging in fishing and trading businesses in order to raise money. However, they had little success with these ventures. In they still owed money after some of the "Undertakers" resigned. Bradford, Standish, and Alden all had to sell land to pay off the rest of the debt. During his first few years in office, Bradford frequently practiced absolute authority governing free from restraint. Although historians have labeled the Plymouth Colony a democracy, there is little proof to support this claim.
The people who signed the Mayflower Compact may have exercised power as a group, but they gave all authority to the governor. When Bradford became governor in , he served as principal judge and treasurer until He oversaw trade and agriculture, managed profits, and assigned plots of land to settlers.
Since he held executive and legislative authority, only he could decide when freemen former indentured servants who had earned their freedom were allowed to take part in government. Bradford was also allowed to make decisions without the advice of other government authorities and businessmen. Throughout his career, Bradford never showed any desire for power and gain. This document made Bradford, and whoever else he chose, proprietors owners of Plymouth. He immediately shared his rights with the "Old Comers.
They also defined seven capital offenses crimes that require the death penalty. In the grand jury of Plymouth protested the power possessed by the "Old Comers. This is the only known challenge of Bradford's authority as governor. In addition to being governor of Plymouth, Bradford was also considered its principal historian.
William Bradford: Plymouth's Faithful Pilgrim - Gary D. Schmidt - Google книги
In this segment he portrays the Pilgrims as being optimistic about their prospects in the New World, which they considered the "Promised Land. The optimism of Book I is dampened by the realization that corrupt men, not an invisible evil force like Satan, were responsible for the downfall of the colony. Bradford maintained his faith in the goodness of God, however, and continued as governor of Plymouth until the end of his life. He tried to forge relations with the wealthy and powerful Massachusetts Bay Colony, but met resistance from Massachusetts Bay residents.
Bradford died on May 9, , in Plymouth Colony. His efforts at colonial union were fulfilled in when the Plymouth Colony finally merged with the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
Elliott, Emory, and others, eds. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey , , pp. Hays, Wilma Pitchford. Philadelphia: Westminster Press, Johnson, Allen, and others, eds. Dictionary of American Biography. New York : Scribner, pp. Stephen, Leslie, and Sidney Lee, eds. The Dictionary of National Biography. London, England: Oxford University Press, , pp. William Bradford: The First Thanksgiving. Family Entertainment Network, Videocassette recording. I n , a year after the Virginia Company of London party embarked for Jamestown, the Virginia Company of Plymouth prepared for an expedition to Maine, which was the place that Bartholomew Gosnold d.
Gosnold's party had seen the region only in the summertime, however, and the Plymouth group were planning to stay permanently. They were completely unprepared for the long and bitterly cold Maine winter. Although most of the settlers managed to survive the harsh climate, one of the leaders died and another was called back to England. Finally the settlers dispersed and the English did not return to the area for another thirteen years. The next attempt at colonization in New England came about as a result of the Puritan movement. Puritanism a group that stressed strictness in matters of religion or conduct , in turn, was an outgrowth of Protestantism.
Protestantism was initiated in by German theologian Martin Luther [—], who accused Roman Catholic Church leaders of corruption and misuse of power. A staunch Roman Catholic, Henry wanted to marry again because Catherine had not borne him a son and he was determined to father a male heir to the throne. Yet Henry encountered strong resistance from the pope, who had the final authority to nullify marriages.
Since Catherine was a Spanish princess and the Catholic Church depended upon Spain to fight Protestantism in Europe, the pope could not afford to alienate the Spanish by granting the annulment. Henry therefore broke with the Catholic Church and declared himself head of the Church of England , which he founded. Henry's quarrel with Roman Catholicism was political, not religious.
Although he closed monasteries houses for monks, or men who took religious vows and seized Catholic lands, he did not want to change the basic values of the church. Therefore he maintained most of the rituals, especially the elaborate ceremonies and fancy vestments robes worn by bishops and priests. Henry's daughter, Elizabeth I — , also loved the grand processions and dramatic services, so she continued her father's policies. Her successor, James I — , was similarly unwilling to make any changes. By this time many English Protestants were rebelling against the heavy emphasis on Catholicism in the Church of England.
They wanted a simpler church, one that placed less emphasis on displays of wealth. During the reign of James I many ministers and congregations refused to organize their worship services according to the requirements of the Church of England. Some critics, who became known as Puritans, felt that purification of the national church would solve the problems. At the same time a few dissenters those who did not conform to the Church of England were contending that the church was too corrupt to be saved and they wanted total separation.
Since the king was head of both the church and the government, separation was considered a crime against the state. Nevertheless a congregation in Scrooby, England, declared themselves to be Nonconformists, or separatists. When the Scrooby leaders were persecuted in the congregation resolved to leave England and go to Leyden in the Netherlands Holland , the most tolerant of the European states.
Life was pleasant in Leyden, and the Nonconformists were free to practice their religion. Nevertheless they were uneasy because their children were becoming more Dutch than English. Economic opportunities were also limited, and there were rumors that war would soon break out between Spain and the Netherlands. Many members of the group wanted to relocate in another country where they could speak the English language and bring up their children in a familiar Christian environment.
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