William Bradford versus John Winthrop

Essay by asianUniversity, Bachelor's March 2002

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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...