Unit 1: Puritanism William Bradford *Of Plymouth Plantation*

Unit 1:
William Bradford
“Of Plymouth Plantation”
The Puritan Philosophy
Basic Timeline
1630: The Great
Migration to New
England (Puritans)
The Great Awakening
1636: Harvard
College founded
1692: The Salem
Witch Trials
1620: Mayflower lands
(W. Bradford) with 100
The Puritan Age
Puritanism: a definition
• As a religion it stems from Roman Catholic
Church of England
Puritan (to purify)
• As a way of life it is based on God and his
•Puritans lived in a THEOCRACY
– Church
» Elders
» Ministers
» Bible teachings
Puritan Views:
• View of God
• View of Man
– Sinful
– Unworthy of salvation
•View of Nature
- Used by God as a way to
punish or reward man
Puritan Tenets (beliefs):
1. The Bible is the inerrant (without errors)
word of God and an outline for living
2. Special people (good Puritans) have been
chosen by God to carry out certain actions
3. Your eternal destiny is decided before you are
born. How you live life hints to this destiny.
4. In all aspects of life, be pragmatic (practical)
and avoid frivolous (unnecessary) activities.
5. “Work is necessary and good for you.”
Puritan reasons for writing:
• Puritan literature is both PRAGMATIC and
• Reasons for writing are
To describe the new land
For support from Europe
To explain action (esp. W. Bradford)
For religious purposes (esp. J. Edwards)
William Bradford & Of Plymouth
William Bradford: bio
• Son of an English
• Was the typical first
New England settler
• Extremely religious;
joined a group of
• Fled from England to
Holland and then to
America because of
religious persecution
• Reached Plymouth in
1620 aboard the
• Wife either jumped or
fell overboard and
• 1st winter in America ½
the settlers died
• Became governor of
Plymouth (re-elected 30+
Bio, cont.
• Wrote Plymouth’s
history (began in 1630
and ended in 1647)
• 200 years later the
manuscript was
• Bradford was
disappointed that
America fell short of its
• Of Plymouth Plantation
– Puritan’s flight from
England to Holland to
– The trials of the 1st
– The bloody Pequot War
“Of Their Voyage, and How They Passed the Sea; and of
Their Safe Arrival to Cape Cod”
• Voyage was a mix of fair winds and fierce
• One of the main beams bowed and cracked ½
way through the journey
• Repaired the beam with a great iron screw (to
raise it) and a post (to secure it)
• Again, pilgrims believed that God would be fair
to them
– “So they committed themselves to the will of God
and resolved to proceed” (59)
• God saves a good Puritan from drowning
– John Howland was thrown into the sea during a
– “it pleased God that he caught hold of the topsail
halyards” (59)
– John Howland “lived many years and became a
profitable member both in church and
commonwealth” (his good life yielded a good fate)
• One person (besides the seaman) perished on
the voyage, William Butten
• They first try to land @ Cape Cod
• Then they decide to travel south down the
Hudson (meet with rough waters)
• Ultimately, they docked @ Cape Harbor
• They landed in winter with no friends to meet
them & no place for them to go
• Bradford declares his trust in God to get them
– “What could now sustain them but the Spirit of
God and His Grace?” (61)
Book 2: “The Starving Time”
• In 2 or 3 months’ time, ½ the ship’s passengers
– Lack of proper housing
– Infected with scurvy
• 6 or 7 Puritans were healthy enough to care for
the others (chosen by God)
• The seamen were greedy and selfish, keeping
food and drink for themselves even with the
passengers so sick.
• The seamen began falling ill too
• Nearly half of the seamen died before they set
sail again
• The pilgrims were much more willing to help
each other in times of need and illness
• The seamen were more barbaric and selfcentered. They cursed each other instead of
caring for each other
“Indian Relations”
• Samoset, an Indian that approached the
pilgrims, helped them become familiar with the
• Squanto and the pilgrims set terms under
which they would all live. These terms
primarily favored the pilgrims. Squanto
continued with the pilgrims as their interpreter
and was “sent from God.” He aided the
pilgrims until he died
“Of Plymouth Plantation”
• Write a short response to video clip
• Create a timeline of events for the excerpt.

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