Mackenzie VernonProfessor Kathy KennedyHistory 130129 December 2017Word Count: 1315 Pilgrims and Puritans For many years, I honestly thought that Pilgrims and Puritans were the same thing, according to the American Heritage Dictionary, I am wrong.
American Heritage Dictionary states that, a Puritan is “A member of a group of English Protestants who in the 1500s and 1600s advocated strict religious discipline along with simplification of the ceremonies and creeds of the Church of England.” It also defines a Pilgrim as “A person who travels, especially to foreign lands or to a place of great personal importance. Or, One of the English Separatists who founded the colony of Plymouth in New England in 1620.” Pilgrims and Puritans have many similarities, the biggest thing they have in common, is they were both English Protestants who had very strong religious beliefs. “They shared a commitment to God and the Biblical revelation so strong that, because of it, both groups were willing to cross an ocean and set up new homes on an unknown continent. As time went on, the two colonies came to depend more and more upon one another until finally both the boundary between their lands and the delicate distinction between their cultures faded into obscurity. 370-plus years later, we give thanks to God for both groups.
” (Maxwell, 2003)However, they had different beliefs on how they wanted to reform the church in England. According to Meg English, “The Pilgrims were more inclined to separate from the church, while the Puritans wanted to reform the church from within.” (English, 2017) Due to the Pilgrims wanting to separate from the church, they became known as Separatist. They believed that they were big enough to create something of their own.
Meg English also stated, “They tended to emphasize individual righteousness before God and believed they were specially chosen to create a new Christian commonwealth utopia.” (English, 2017) The Puritans, also known as The Non- Separating Puritans, believed that they were English and did better working all together rather than individually. By working together, they felt as though this would make them a stronger community and their religious beliefs would spread. The main reason for their travel to America was to freely practice their religion. The Pilgrims traveled from England to America in 1620 via the Mayflower Ship. The Mayflower brought “35 members of a radical Puritan faction known as the English Separatist Church” (History.com Staff, 2009) to Plymouth, Massachusetts. There were many reasons the Pilgrims wanted to move to America, but the main reason was because they broke away from the Church in England.
“Due to economic difficulties, as well as fears that they would lose their English language and heritage, they began to make plans to settle in the New World.” (History.com Staff, 2009) It took them a total of 65 days to reach Plymouth, Massachusetts due to storms causing the water to be rough. Once they finally arrived in December, the travelers then settled on the bay and started building their new community. The settlers worked extremely hard to build a living environment to stay safe, but the winter weather was just too crucial and more than half of them died. While this winter was a tough one for the Pilgrims, “Leaders such as Bradford, Standish, John Carver, William Brewster and Edward Winslow played important roles in keeping the remaining settlers together.
” (History.com Staff, 2009) The Puritans didn’t take sail to America until the 1630’s. While the Pilgrims left the church of England, their leader wanted them to stay true to the church and reform it. PBS stated, “leader John Winthrop reminded them of their duties and obligations under the covenant.
If they honored their obligations to God, they would be blessed; if they failed, they would be punished.” (PBS, 2010) They soon arrived in Boston and created The Massachusetts Bay Colony. Living here was a little tough at first but they were able to freely worship their beliefs and that’s what they were most excited about. The Puritans followed John Calvin a, reformer, that fully believed in Salvation.
Each individual lived in fear not knowing if they were saved or would be damned forever. Leader, John Winthrop, knew that many Puritans disagreed with John’s belief but he stated, “if dissent were not kept within bounds, it would undermine the community.” (PBS, 2010) Next thing you know, two colonist stepped in to help resolve this situation. “Two members of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, Roger Williams and Anne Hutchinson, challenged the religious authority of the Puritan commonwealth and threatened to destroy Winthrop’s vision of “a city upon a hill.”” (PBS, 2010) While the community stayed alive, their religious beliefs didn’t. Before the Puritans or Pilgrims arrived to Massachusetts, many native americans had been living there for about 10,000 years.
After the Pilgrims built their little community, “they came into contact with Tisquantum, or Squanto, an English-speaking Native American.” (History.com Staff, 2009) Squanto was the biggest help to the Pilgrims, he taught them how to communicate and interpret the native american language. The Pilgrims looked up to Tisquantum, as he was the leader and educator of their community. Running into these indians, also taught the Pilgrims many things such as, hunting animals, fishing, and how to plant the most important crop, corn. If the Pilgrims had not met the indians, I think that their community would have eventually died off. Since they had met them, their community became very successful which is the reason we celebrate Thanksgiving every year.
The Pilgrims were very thankful for the native americans allowing them on their land and for teaching them all they needed to know in order for them to survive. Without the help of Squanto and Tisquantum, the Pilgrims would have never had a chance of survival. While there were a few tribes that like the Pilgrims and helped them out, there were a few who could not stand them and wanted them off their turf. According to History.
com, “Other tribes, such as the Massachusetts and Narragansetts, were not so well disposed towards European settlers” (History.com Staff, 2009) Due to these indians and Pilgrims not getting along, “relations between settlers and Native Americans deteriorated.” (History.com Staff, 2009) This led to an outbreak that no one saw coming.
“That conflict left some 5,000 inhabitants of New England dead, three quarters of those Native Americans.” (History.com, 2009) If the native americans would have given the Pilgrims more of a chance, they could have created a society for everyone and they would have been extremely successful. While the Puritans and Pilgrims both had their own struggles as they made their way to America, America would not be what it is today had they not made the trip over. They both have a big role in American History. The relationships that were formed with the native americans are the reason we have a holiday to celebrate every November, Thanksgiving. I would say that the Puritans and Pilgrims were very brave to escape England to come to America. Despite all the ups and downs along the way, they proved to be very strong, no matter the weather or conditions they lived in, they always found a way to get things done in order to be successful.
CitationsCompany, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing. “The American Heritage Dictionary Entry: Pilgrim.” American Heritage Dictionary Entry: Pilgrim, ahdictionary.com/word/search.html?q=pilgrim. English, Meg. “How Were the Pilgrim & Puritan Colonies Similar & Different?” Synonym, http://classroom.synonym.
com/how-were-the-pilgrim-puritan-colonies-similar-different-12086287.html. 29 September 2017.
Maxwell, Richard Howland. “PILGRIM AND PURITAN: A DELICATE DISTINCTION.” Pilgrim Hall Museum , Mar. 2003, www.pilgrimhallmuseum.org/pdf/Pilgrim_Puritan_A_Delicate_Distinction.
pdf+.History.com Staff. “The Pilgrims.” History.
com, A&E Television Networks, 2009, www.history.com/topics/pilgrims.
“God In America.” PBS, Public Broadcasting Service, 2010 www.pbs.org/godinamerica/people/puritans.