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The pilgrims definitely had an impact on the founding of our county. They settled the area first and established it as viable for western civilization. They created covenants and laws and developed the area, and usually made inroads with the local native population. However the actual formal large-scale government came later.
The Founding Fathers by far. The Puritans' influence was very limited outside their own area. They did not have nearly the impact on the rest of the nation that the Constitution did. Therefore, because their work affected the whole country, the Founders were more influential.
The Founding Fathers were exponentially more influential through their creation of a government and working Constitution that has served as the framework for the United States over the past three hundred years. A case in point, any eighth grader could rattle off multiple founding fathers' names and contributions to our government, but would be hard pressed to tell you many specifics on the Pilgrim Fathers.
I'd have to agree that the founding fathers appear to be more influential. It's probably true in more than just appearance, but I also think it is easy to underestimate the importance of the Pilgrims. We often hear of America's "Puritanical" origins, and frequently that is meant to be a negative comment about religious intolerance. But if we are concerned about the effect and danger of religious intolerance, that is also due to the "influence" of the Pilgrims.
On the positive side, the Puritans emphasized hard work and self-reliance. Without those attributes, would we ever have made it a place where the Founding Fathers could do their work in the first place?
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