Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Exploration and Settlement

Written over a period of years by the leader of the Plymouth Colony Massachusetts, William Bradford, Of Plymouth Plantation is the single most complete authority for the story of Pilgrims and the early years of the Colony they founded. 

 But I cannot but stay and make a pause and stand half amased at this poore people presente condition; and so I thinke will the reader too, when he will considers ye same. Being thus passed ye vase ocean and a sea of troubles before in their preparation (as may be remembered by yt which wente before), they had now no friends no wellcome them, nor inns to entertaine or refresh their weatherbeaten bodys, no houses or much less townes to repaire not, to seeke for succoure ... What could not sustaine them but ye spirits of God & his grace? May not ought not the children of these father rightly say: Our faithers were Englishment which came over this great ocean, and were ready to persih in this wilderness; but they cried unto ye Lord, and he heard their voyce and looked on their adversitie. Let them therfore prasie ye Lord, because he is good & his mercies endure for ever ...

William Bradford and his pilgrim followers had broken away from the main Protesetant religion in England and were persecuted because of this. The pilgrims wanted to find a new environment that was free and gave them a place to practice their religious beliefs. They believed that God's power and mercy wouldaid them in this difficult quest. On arrival in America, the Plymouth settlers had not friends to welcome them, there was no accommodation for them or even any food after their terrible journey. The seeason in which they arrived was winter, and it was particularly cruel one with fierce storms. Not only was the weather poor, but they hadn't a clue what they would find in the isolated wilderness. 
They would encounter the natives, who probably would not be friendly to them. These inhabitans might even be godless savages who might kill rather than greet them. They would have to cope with all types of wild beasts well.
A number of the Pilgrims who had left England had died during the journey and many of thos who had survived had disease and were weak. They only had hope and the strength of their fath in god to sustain them. In the first act of Thanksgiving they kneel and pray to for thanks for getting them to the new land. Bradford's  "ready to perish in this wilderness ...." Their lord heard their voice and gave them new fatih".
This account encapsulates the true founding of America and the struggle the settlers would have encountered before they could found their first colony. The religious background and belief in themselves aidied by their faith in god is still seen in the attitude of many Americans today. They did overcome these huge problems and their faith, determination and hard work laid the foundations for today's United States.

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