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William Bradford Versus John Winthrop Essay

1320 words - 5 pages

1. William Bradford (1590-1657) was one of the leaders of colonial America. Bradford arrived at Cape Cod on November 11, 1620, on the flagship Mayflower. He was one of the authors of The Mayflower Compact. His greatest contribution to early writing is his History of Plymouth Plantation, 1620-1647. Bradford and Winthrop both demonstrate an exegetical habit of mind. In their different ways, both Bradford and Winthrop and Bradford demonstrate that the Puritans see themselves creating a new center in the New World, from which their values would radiate outward.William Bradford 's history of the Pilgrims, in Of Plymouth Plantation, sheds a uniquely different light on life in colonial New England. Bradford 's account depicts many hardships that had to be overcome by the Pilgrims, before their ideal land began to take shape. Bradford describes arriving in New England in the late fall as fatal for many of the Pilgrims. The first winter took its toll on the colonists. Forced to live on the boat, many people died of scurvy or starved. When they finally were able to stay on land, they found the Indians less than sociable, and the land too rugged to develop large farms. The Pilgrims kept their faith though, and with time, the Lord blessed them. They made a pact with the Indians, learned how to grow native crops, and developed industries. William Bradford believed that God helped them through His bountiful grace, and turned the New England wilderness into a Heavenly Paradise. Some factors that will be considered include: how Puritan beliefs affect William Bradford 's interpretation of events, the representation of Puritan theology in the above mentioned text, and how Puritanism forms the basis for Bradford 's motivation in writing.In Bradford 's text, there are numerous instances in which his beliefs affect his interpretation of what happens. In Chapter IX (nine) of "Of Plymouth Plantation", entitled "Of Their Voyage...", Bradford tells of another ship passenger named John Howland. At one point in the trip, the Mayflower came upon a violent storm. The winds of the storm were so fierce, and the seas were so high, that all the sailors and passengers had to "hull for divers days together". During this storm, a young man named John Howland was thrown into the sea, and as Bradford tells us, "it pleased God that he caught hold of the topsail halyards which hung overboard and ran out at length". Howlandcaught hold of a rope, and "though he was sundry fathoms under water", he held on until he was hauled up. Bradford reasons that the man was saved because he was blessed by God. He goes on to say that he "became a profitable member in both church and state, implying that John Howland was one of the so called "Puritan Saints". To the Puritans, Saints were people whom God was to save, so these people received God's blessings, andtherefore were profitable in Puritan society Representation of Puritan theology is also heavily prevalent in Bradford 's "Of Plymouth...

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