Homework Help

Credit for colonization -- why do the Pilgrims get it?Why are the Pilgrims, and not...

user profile pic

mgrijalva0930 | Student, College Freshman | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 10, 2012 at 5:55 PM via web

dislike 0 like
Credit for colonization -- why do the Pilgrims get it?

Why are the Pilgrims, and not earlier Europeans, seen as the founders of the United States? 

8 Answers | Add Yours

user profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted September 10, 2012 at 6:14 PM (Answer #2)

dislike 0 like

The answer to this depends a bit on which "earlier Europeans" you are talking about.  I'd say the Pilgrims get more credit than the Jamestown settlers because their story fits better with our national identity.  We say that they came for religious freedom, which fits well with our vision of ourselves as the land of freedom.  The Jamestown people, coming simply for wealth, don't fit so well so we don't talk about them as much.  

user profile pic

mgrijalva0930 | Student, College Freshman | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 10, 2012 at 6:26 PM (Answer #3)

dislike 0 like

Is it not more due to an anglo bias? Or do we simply see it more fitting to leave the gap between 1492 and 1620 out because there isnt enough to relate to in a religious sense?

user profile pic

Kristen Lentz | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted September 10, 2012 at 8:10 PM (Answer #4)

dislike 0 like

As a former American history teacher, I would say that the founders in Jamestown get more credit in the textbooks simply because they preceded the Pilgrims by about thirteen years.  I agree with the above statements that popular culture tends to relate more to the Pilgrims so they get a little more play in that arena.

Kristen Lentz

user profile pic

mwalter822 | Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted September 10, 2012 at 10:17 PM (Answer #5)

dislike 0 like

There is some famous literature relating to the Pilgrims also, such as The Crucible and The Scarlet Letter that helps keep the Pilgrims in our mindset.


They seemed to be a stronger colony than Jamestown also. For better or for worse, their religious heritage makes them more memorable.

user profile pic

wannam | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted September 13, 2012 at 2:10 PM (Answer #6)

dislike 0 like

Generally, we associate the pilgrims with religious freedom.  We often make the same associations of religious freedom and freedom in general with our founding fathers.  The Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and other important founding articles are generally associated more with the ideals of the pilgrims.  Since it was these articles that founded this country, we view these ideals in a different light than simply discovery.  The early Europeans certainly began colonization and establishing a new life here, however they didn't really have a hand in founding the country we now live in.

user profile pic

mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted September 19, 2012 at 2:54 AM (Answer #7)

dislike 0 like

History is written by whoever is in power.  (Is not the word story part of this word?) So, since the English who came to America were the main recorders of U.S. history, Jamestown is listed as the first settlement and all the other details follow.   In truth, St. Augustine was founded before Jamestown, but the Spanish had it, and they have not written any American history.  So, Jamestown stays in the history books.

user profile pic

samson24 | Student, Grade 9 | Honors

Posted October 23, 2012 at 1:51 AM (Answer #8)

dislike 0 like

History is written by whoever is in power.  (Is not the word story part of this word?) So, since the English who came to America were the main recorders of U.S. history, Jamestown is listed as the first settlement and all the other details follow.   In truth, St. Augustine was founded before Jamestown, but the Spanish had it, and they have not written any American history.  So, Jamestown stays in the history books.      ..

This is the answer to all you problemssssss.  Heheheheh

user profile pic

rrteacher | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted October 28, 2012 at 12:45 AM (Answer #9)

dislike 0 like

There is a difference between how history is written and how we as a nation choose to remember it. History has, for more than fifty years, rejected the notion that New England somehow represented the birth of America. Many historians have even argued that in terms of developmental models, most of the colonies had more in common with the Chesapeake (large indentured and enslaved labor forces, elite consolidation of power, etc) than with New England. South Carolina, at least for the first few decades of its history, had more in common with Barbados than other colonies. But Americans, as pohnpei observes, would rather remember the New England colonies, which they associate with religious liberty (wrongly), a "city on a hill," and the Puritan work ethic, than the Chesapeake colonies. It's part of American exceptionalism. 

 

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes