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Establishing Excellence Essay

2309 words - 9 pages

The year 1620 marked the beginning of a new nation. Regardless of where they lived, the early colonists seemed to have one thing in common a tough, rugged individualism characterized by an independent nature and a desire for self-government Emigrants from England set forth across the Atlantic Ocean, on the Mayflower, embarked on their quest for better life. The Pilgrims founded the Plymouth colony in Plymouth, Massachusetts in December of that year. Fear and danger masked their hopes and dreams while conquering obstacles such as starvation, disease, and harsh winters. Despite the fatalities at sea, the unexpected dangers of the new land killed nearly half of the original crew. The 53 who remained witnessed the first ever Thanksgiving the following autumn in 1621. William Bradford succeeded John Carver in 1622 as governor of Plymouth Colony. Finding themselves in an intolerable circumstance, some members separated from the Church of England and sought reform. The groups, known as the Pilgrims and Puritans soon found their way into the New World. The ostensible Puritans wished to purify their faith by applying the principles set by the Protestant Reformation (Settling for determinism, 2011, para. 1). They chose to remain within the Church of England and work for reform, and supported the belief of setting an example of biblical righteousness in and out of church. Their leaders, highly trained scholars knowledgeable of the Scriptures, sought to bring the Church of England to a state of purity that matched Christianity in the same way Christ had (Settling for determinism, 2011, para. 3). The Puritans strongly emphasized the communal righteousness of their entire congregation before God. Although the Puritans came to America for religious freedom, in reality they found no such thing. Puritans held strict guidelines of the church expecting everyone to agree and abide by them, tolerating no dissenters. Ironically enough, these same Puritans had themselves been dissenters by declining to conform to the Church of England (Settling for determinism, 2011, para. 4). Education played its role in the 1630s when settlers founded both the first public school and Harvard University. After the death of New England trader John Oldham, open warfare commenced with the Pequot Indians (Kelly, 2011, para. 11). One year later in 1637, the Pequot Wars officially began, virtually eliminating the tribe. The tribe's destruction came through fire and genocide as the English killed men, women, and children in a fashion otherwise unknown to Native Americans at that time. This line of attack set the example for the majority of later conflicts in the New England area as the Puritans went about clearing the land of whatever stood in the way of European progress (American Indian wars, 2011, para. 12). Anne Hutchinson led the first organized attack on the male-dominated Puritan religious establishment (Wheeler, L., Wheeler, M., & Wheeler, W., 2011, para. 1). Banished from the...

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