The 1600s was a time for new foundation and exploration in the content of the Americas. In a search for truth, John Smith and William Bradford, along with many others, founded colonies in the new world. In the writings “A Description of New England” by John Smith and “Of Plymouth Plantation” by William Bradford, the tone of these two selections vary noticeably. Both authors use certain tones to attract and persuade certain audiences. John Smith often embellished himself through his own pen, while on the other hand Bradford wrote about the realities of the New World.
Captain John Smith and Governor William Bradford were two influential men that wrote of their experiences in America. They were both European and both desired to settle the land. However, the similarities end there. While Smith roamed Virginia as a scout and military man, Bradford planted his church community at Plymouth (modern day Massachusetts). Although Captain John Smith and William Bradford held and wrote about similar positions in similar situations, they handled these situations differently. Not only did they come to the New World for different reasons, they also had different focuses when they wrote the histories of their respective colonies. While Jamestown was established as a British response to Spain’s unfathomable economic success in South America, Plymouth was chosen by a group of religious refugees as the place in which their way of life and beliefs could thrive without outside interference.
Captain John Smith’s only apparent reason for coming over to the New World to settle was for the adventure that was sure to arise. In his early days, he did a lot of fighting, capturing, and being captured. When the opportunity arose to settle in the New World, it was simply another front opening up. William Bradford, however, was one of the Puritans that came over to seek relief from the oppression that they faced in England. While he, too, likely faced fighting, it was more that of fighting against the persecution that he faced in England. In the New World, however, both men did have to face natives that were not friendly to them.
Captain John Smith was one of the first American heroes. But because he was a proud and boastful man, it is difficult to know which parts of his life, as recorded in the written record, are fact and which are fiction.
“Smith little dreaming of that accident, being got to the marshes at the river’s head twenty miles in the desert, had his two men slain (as is supposed) sleeping by the canoe, whilst himself by fowling sought them victual, who finding he was beset with 200 savages, two of them he slew, still defending himself with the aid of a savage his guide, whom he bound to his thigh a little, and had many arrows that stuck in his clothes but no great hurt, till at last they took him prisoner”(Smith, 63).
On the other hand, William Bradford wrote in a plain, straightforward style, which is a reflection of the way Puritans were encouraged to live...