Analyze William Bradford's History of Plymouth Plantation.

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rrteacher | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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As the title suggests, History of Plymouth Plantation was intended by Bradford to be an account of the founding of Plymouth. Indeed, it is a valuable primary source--in some cases, the only primary source--for many of the events that have now become very famous, including the landing at Plymouth, the Mayflower Compact, and the Thanksgiving feast. Moreover, Bradford discusses the reasons the Pilgrims chose to depart England, the tribulations they faced on the way to North America, their complex interactions with Native Americans, and above all, their struggles to establish a permanent colony after landing. Perhaps the dominant theme in Bradford's account, and certainly the most evident to a modern reader, is the extent to which the author attributes the successes of the Pilgrims (and their failures as well) as part of God's plan. This, Bradford makes it clear, is the intended message of the work, and how he hopes the Pilgrims will be remembered:

What could now sustain them but the Spirit of God and His grace? May not and ought not the children of these fathers rightly say: "Our fathers were Englishmen which came over this great ocean, and were ready to perish in this wilderness; but they cried unto the Lord, and He heard their voice and looked on their adversity,"


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